May 1, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball head coach Grayson DuBose announced Wednesday its 2013 schedule as the Aggies will play a 31-match regular-season schedule in USU's first season in the Mountain West. Of the 31 matches, three are against in-state opponents and there are five NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
USU will play 11 home matches this season in the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, an arena where the Aggies have posted a 105-44 (.705) record over the last 14 seasons. The Aggies will play 14 matches as the visiting team and six on neutral courts.
Utah State will face NCAA Tournament teams Northern Iowa, Fairfield and Liberty in non-conference tournament action, along with home and home series against new Mountain West foes Colorado State and San Diego State, as part of the Aggies' 20-match MW slate.
"We are looking forward to competing this fall in the Mountain West," DuBose said. "The preseason will prepare us for the challenges ahead. Traditionally the Mountain West has been one of the best conferences in the country, and we are excited about the challenge of competing with some of the best teams in the country."
For the first time in three seasons, USU will not be hosting a home tournament, as the Aggies will open the season at the University of Utah Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30-31. After tipping off action against in-state foe Utah, USU will face Northern Iowa and Fairfield. It will be the Aggies' first-ever meeting with both Northern Iowa and Fairfield.
"Heading south to play at Utah will be an early test, University of Northern Iowa, Fairfield University and the University of Utah present a challenge in the first weekend," DuBose said.
To open the September portion of the schedule, Utah State will head to Portland, Ore., to participate in the University of Portland Nike Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7, facing host Portland along with two teams to be announced.
The Aggies will return home to the Beehive State, playing at in-state foe Weber State on Tuesday, Sept. 10, before heading to Durham, N.C., to play in the Duke University Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14, facing Duke, South Carolina and Liberty. USU will be facing all three teams for the first time in its history.
"We are anxiously anticipating to heading east to compete at Duke. It has such a history about it. Most of our players have never been there; so that is exciting," said DuBose.
Utah State will open its inaugural Mountain West season by facing former Western Athletic Conference foe Boise State in the home opener at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Wed., Sept. 18, before making the return trek to Boise on Saturday, Sept. 21. USU will continue action on the road the next weekend, playing at former WAC foe Fresno State on Thursday, Sept. 26 and at fellow MW newcomer San Jose State on Saturday, Sept. 28.
October action opens with a home weekend against New Mexico and Air Force, on Thursday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 5, respectively. The Aggies will then play at four-time defending conference champion Colorado State on Thursday, Oct. 10 and at Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 12.
USU will then take a break from conference play, hosting Utah Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 15, before resuming MW action by playing at Nevada on Saturday, Oct. 19. The Aggies open up a four-match homestand by hosting San Diego State on Thursday, Oct. 24 and UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 26. USU will then host Wyoming on Halloween before opening November by hosting Colorado State on Saturday, Nov. 2.
A match at Air Force on Thursday, Nov. 7 is followed by a road match at New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 9. The Aggies return home to host San Jose State on Thursday, Nov. 14 and Fresno State on Saturday, Nov. 16, before heading out for the final regular-season road trip, playing at UNLV on Thursday, Nov. 21 and at San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 23. USU then hosts Nevada in the regular-season finale on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
The Mountain West does not have a conference tournament. The first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament will be the first weekend in December.
The 2012 Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion Aggies return four starters, who were also all-WAC honorees, plus their libero from last season's squad that posted a milestone season with a 21-9 record. Utah State won its first-ever WAC regular-season title to go with its 2010 WAC Tournament championship in its eighth and final season in the league.
The Aggies also won 20 matches for the 11th time in school history and second in the last three years, winning 24 matches in their 2010 WAC Tournament title season. USU posted a 15-3 WAC record, setting a school-record for most conference wins, bettering the previous mark of 12 Big West Conference wins in 2001. DuBose was named the WAC Coach of the Year, joining his 2007 honor and was the only conference coach of the year honoree in the program's history.
Headlining the Aggies' returners are junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) and junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.), who both earned first-team all-WAC honors.
USU also has two second-team all-WAC honorees returning in the middle blocking duo of junior Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) and sophomore Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah). In addition to second-team all-WAC honors, Brainard was the WAC Freshman of the Year and was also on the all-freshman team.
Fans can also follow the Aggie volleyball program at twitter.com/USUVolleyball, on facebook at facebook.com/USUVolleyball or on instagram at instagram.com/usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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