Aug. 22, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
UTAH STATE INVITATIONAL Sponsored by Gossner Foods Friday and Saturday, Aug. 24-25, 2012 Dee Glen Smith Spectrum - Logan, Utah
Friday, Aug. 24 Portland at UTAH STATE 10 a.m. Utah vs. Southern Utah Noon Weber State vs. Portland 4:30 p.m. Portland at UTAH STATE 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25 Southern Utah vs. Portland 9:30 a.m. Utah vs. Weber State Noon Southern Utah at UTAH STATE 2 p.m. Utah vs. Portland 5 p.m. Weber State at UTAH STATE 7:30 p.m.
GameTracker links at UtahStateAggies.com "Watch Live" links available for USU matches
Utah State volleyball will open the 2012 season by hosting the Utah State Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods... This is the third-straight season that USU has hosted a tournament.
USU is beginning its 36th season of collegiate volleyball with an overall record of 578-666-8 (.464)... The Aggies have played in the NCAA Tournament four times in school history (2000, 2001, 2005, 2010), advancing to the second round in 2000 and 2001.
Four of the six Division I volleyball teams in the state of Utah will be in action in the Spectrum this weekend.
Portland is making its first visit to Logan since 1997.
Weber State head coach Tom Peterson is in his second season at the leash of the Wildcats program after being an assistant on USU head coach Grayson DuBose's bench in 2010... Peterson was also head coach for the Aggies from 1999-2000, posting a 36-22 (.621) record, with DuBose as his assistant.
Weber State assistant coach Brian Scott was a volunteer assistant coach with DuBose and Peterson on USU's WAC Tournament season of 2010.
Southern Utah head coach Debby Baker was a two-year Aggie volleyball letterwinner and is a 1993 USU alum... She was also a volunteer assistant coach at USU during the 2000 season.
Utah State's Shay Sorensen and Ashlan Rogers were teammates in the USA Volleyball Open Championships this summer with Utah's Mckenzie Odale and Morgan Odale, along with Southern Utah's Analaine Mailoto, helping the Intermountain team to a second-place finish in the Women's AA Division.
Live stats of every match during the 2012 Utah State Invitational are available via the USU Athletics web site at www.utahstateaggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics via GameTracker.
The Utah State matches of the 2012 Utah State Invitational will be streamed on the Internet by clicking on the "Watch Live" link at www.UtahStateAggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics. Fans will need to pay a small fee to watch the match.
LOOKING AT UTAH STATE
Utah State returns five starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 12-17 overall and finished in a tie for fourth-place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-7 league record.
Among those returning for USU is senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah), who earned second-team all-WAC honors as a junior and sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.), who was named to the WAC's all-Freshman team in 2011... Other starters returning for the Aggies include senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah), sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) and sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah).
Sorensen hit .202 last season and averaged 2.57 kills, 0.71 digs and 0.86 blocks per set... Neves ranked seventh in the WAC in assists at 8.83 per set and added 2.48 digs per set as well as 16 service aces, second among the USU returners... White was among the WAC leaders statistically last year as she was ninth in kills (2.73 kps), eighth in blocks (1.01 bps) and seventh in points (3.45 pps)... Rogers is the returning starter at libero, averaging 2.61 digs per set as well as leading the team with 23 service aces a season ago, while VanHoff was fourth in the WAC in blocks at 1.19 per set.
Adding to the mix are three newcomers in junior college transfer Jocelyn Hobbs (Rexburg, Idaho) along with a pair of in-state signees in freshmen Candace Richins (Kaysville, Utah) and McKell Staheli (Pleasant Grove, Utah)... Hobbs is a middle blocker who joins the Aggies from nearby Western Wyoming Junior College while outside hitter Richins comes to USU after a highly-decorated career at Davis High School, and Staheli, a libero, joins the Aggies after a standout career at Pleasant Grove High School.
Utah State is 17-19 all-time in season openers, including wins in four of its last seven years... Last season, USU lost to Pacific in three sets at the Southern Utah Invitational... In 2010, the Aggies opened the season with a three-set win against UC Davis... In 2009, USU defeated Weber State in four sets to start the season... In 2008, USU began the year with a three-set loss at Brigham Young... In 2007, USU began the year with a three-set loss at Arizona... In 2006, USU began the year with a four-set win at New Mexico and in 2005 it started the year with a three-set win against Fordham.
UTAH STATE IN HOME OPENERS AND TOURNAMENT PLAY
Utah State is an even 18-18 (.500) all-time in home openers including a 4-2 (.667) record under sixth-year head coach Grayson DuBose... USU also has a level 51-51 (.500) mark in regular season tournaments over the last 13 years.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF UTAH
Utah State is 28-19 (.600) versus the state of Utah during the last 12 years, including a 14-6 (.700) home record. Under seventh-year head coach Grayson DuBose, USU is 12-11 (.522) versus teams from the Beehive State, including a 6-5 record at home.
DUBOSE HAS SECOND-MOST WINS IN SCHOOL HISTORY
With its four-set win at Cal State Fullerton on Sept. 17, 2011, Grayson DuBose moved ahead of former Aggie head coach Burt Fuller (2001-05) and into second-place all-time at USU for career wins... DuBose, who is in his seventh-year at Utah State, enters the 2012 ledger with an overall coaching record of 92-89 (.509)... Marilyn McReavy and Mary Jo Peppler hold the school record with 209 wins as they were co-head coaches from 1976-81.
CONNECTIONS IN THE COACHING WORLD
Two of the four visiting teams this weekend have head coaches who have ties to Utah State as Weber State head coach Tom Peterson was head coach for the Aggies from 1999-2000, logging a 36-22 (.621) record, the second-highest winning percentage of USU coaches... During that time, USU head coach Grayson DuBose was an assistant on Peterson's staff... In 2010, Peterson returned to USU and was an assistant on DuBose's WAC Tournament Championship season of 2010.
Southern Utah State Debby Nield Baker was a two-year Aggie volleyball letterwinner from 1992-93, earning academic all-Big West honors, and is a 1993 USU alum, graduating Cum Laude with a Marketing degree in 1994... She was also a volunteer assistant coach at USU during the 2000 season... Also, Coach Baker's son is named Logan... Baker also coached at New Mexico State as an assistant coach and director of volleyball operations, where she was the assistant coach from NMSU head coach Michael Jordan, also a Utah State alum.
FROM TEAMMATES TO FOES
USU senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen and sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers were teammates on the Intermountain team with Utah's Mckenzie Odale and Morgan Odale, along with Southern Utah's Analaine Mailoto, this summer from May 26-June 2 in the USA Volleyball Open Championships in Salt Lake City... The team finished second in the Women's AA Division.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT FIELD
PORTLAND - The Pilots return five starters plus the libero as part of 12 letterwinners from last season's 8-21 squad... UP led the nation in sets played per match at 4.21... Senior MB Ariel Usher earning all-West Coast Conference honors last year after leading the Pilots with 2.73 kills per set, adding 0.55 blocks per set.... UP is coached by Joe Houck who enters his fifth season as head of the Pilots' program with a 34-86 career record.
SOUTHERN UTAH - The Thunderbirds have five starters back as part of 10 returning letterwinners from last season's team that posted an 11-20 mark... SUU is entering its first season in the Big Sky Conference... Senior outside hitter Analaine Mailoto leads the T-Birds, posting 4.17 kills per set, 3.02 digs per set while adding 0.41 blocks per set a year ago... SUU head coach and Aggie alum Debby Baker is in her 4th season guiding the T-Birds' program and has posted a 35-55 record in her SUU tenure.
UTAH - The Utes also have five starters as well as the libero returning as part of nine letterwinners from last year's 11-20 team... Utah finished fifth in the NCAA with 3.00 blocks per set last season... The Utes are led by sophomore outside hitter Chelsey Scholfield, who posted 2.95 kills per set, 2.63 digs per set and 0.60 blocks per set on the way to earning Pac-12 all-Freshman honorable mention honors last season... Utah head coach Beth Launiere has a career ledger of 436-258 entering her 23rd season as the Utes' head coach.
WEBER STATE - The Wildcats have three starters and seven letterwinners returning from last year's team that posted a 3-26 record... One of the returning starters for Weber State is junior outside hitter/middle blocker Briana Wilms, who notched 2.03 kills and 0.95 blocks per set while hitting a team-best .155... WSU head coach and former USU head and assistant coach Tom Peterson is in his second season at the leash of the Wildcats' program, posting a career record of 44-68 as a head coach.
Utah State returns 63.7 percent of its kills (782/1,227), 70.6 percent of its points (1,159/1,640.5), 66.4 percent of its service aces (71/107), 60.3 percent of its digs (998/1,656), 78.8 percent of its blocks (467/593), and 93.6 percent of its assists (1,069/1,142) from the 2011 season.
SETTER - The Aggies have a pair of experienced and talented setters in senior Kassi Hargrove and sophomore Paige Neves. While Neves is the returning starter, Hargrove can step right in and the Aggies won't miss a beat. In 2011, Neves ranked seventh in the WAC in assists at 8.83 per set, finishing the season with 874 assists and earning WAC all-Freshman team honors along with way. That total puts her on pace to crack into USU's top 10 career assists list this season, needing just 406 more to do so. Last season she dished out 40 or more assists in six matches highlighted by career-high 50 assists twice, first at Weber State on Sept. 6 and again against Idaho on Nov. 5. Neves also had the highest hitting percentage on the team hitting .225 with 56 kills, adding 2.48 digs per set as well as 16 service aces, second among the USU returners. Hargrove averaged 4.21 assists per set and enters her final season as an Aggie having played 58 career matches and is poised for a standout senior season.
MIDDLE BLOCKER - USU also has two middle blockers returning in senior Alyssa Everett and sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff. However, Everett will redshirt this season with a knee injury. VanHoff is more than able to pick up the slack, as she was fourth in the WAC in blocks at 1.19 per set, finishing with a team-best 117 total blocks, just outside of the USU top 10 single-season list, as her 113 block assists were the 11th-most in school history. VanHoff had nine matches with six or more total blocks, highlighted by career-high nine at Cal State Fullerton. Redshirt-freshman Shan England is also expected to contribute this season with a year of learning and practicing the Aggies' blocking system under her belt, which she showed with a positive spring season. Also adding to the mix is well-decorated junior college transfer Jocelyn Hobbs, who comes to USU after a stellar career at Western Wyoming CC, where she helped the Mustangs to a 39-3 record and a runner-up finish at the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championships, including being named to the NJCAA Region IX all-Tournament team.
OUTSIDE/OPPOSITE SIDE HITTERS - Utah State must replace All-American Liz McArthur, who also was named first-team all-WAC for the second-straight year after ranking fourth in the league in kills (3.72) and points per set (4.17) in 2011. McArthur hit .162 on the season and averaged 2.33 digs, 0.45 blocks and 0.20 service aces per set. However the focal point of not just Utah State's returning experience, but also its depth and leadership is along the outside, as the Aggies return the senior duo of second-team all-WAC honoree Shay Sorensen and Josselyn White, who are both three-year letterwinners and have played together a total of 159 matches in the three seasons together in Aggie blue and white. A year ago, White had double-digit kills in 13 matches. White enters her senior season on the verge of breaking into USU's career lists for total blocks, block assists, kills and attempts. Sorensen had double-digit kills in 16 matches, notched a career-best 19 against New Mexico State. With a senior season on pace with her sophomore and junior seasons, Sorensen could also crack into the Aggies' career lists for kills and blocks. Adding to the mix are junior Tumua Etimani and sophomore Rachel Orr, who both showed significant progress and development not only throughout last season, but continued through the spring and summer. Etimani had a .500 hitting percentage or better in five matches, finishing the season hitting .207. Orr had seven or more kills in five matches, setting her career-high of 14 kills in back-to-back matches at Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State, ending with 78 kills, one of four returning players with 75 or more kills. Redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard learned the Aggies' system while redshirting last season and will be looked toward to contend for playing time as she continues to develop. New addition, freshman Candace Richins, is also expected to battle for starting and playing time, coming to USU as a highly-touted prepster, earning high school All-American honors at Davis (Utah) High School after posting a team-best 265 kills, 137 digs and 51 aces, on the way to being named the Deseret News' 5A MVP.
LIBERO - Just like all the other positions on the court, the Aggies have a great deal of experience and talent returning at libero, where sophomore Ashlan Rogers leads the way and also provides emotional leadership on the court. In 2011, Rogers showed continued progress as she adapted and developed to the college game. In her first season as an Aggie, Rogers had 287 digs on the year at a 2.61 per set clip. Rogers had 12 matches of double-digit digs, including a career-high 27 against Idaho. Strengthening the libero position is newcomer McKell Staheli, who also had a well-decorated high school career. The Pleasant Grove High School product posted 518 digs last season along with 24 aces, on the way to earning multiple all-state honors, a defensive MVP honor and the Region 4 MVP award.
UTAH STATE RANKED 10TH IN THE NATION IN BLOCKING LAST SEASON
Utah State ranked 10th in the country in blocking (2.79) last season... Individually, middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff ranked 47th in the nation in blocking (1.19), while senior All-American outside hitter Liz McArthur ranked 82nd in the nation in kills per set (3.72) and 98th in points per set (4.17).
UTAH STATE LED THE WAC IN BLOCKING
Utah State finished the 2011 season ranking first in the WAC in blocks (2.79), second in digs (15.05), sixth in hitting percentage (.168), seventh in kills (11.15), seventh in assists (10.38) and eighth in service aces (0.97).
EVERETT RANKED SECOND IN THE WAC IN BLOCKS
Individually, senior Alyssa Everett finished the season second in the WAC in blocks (1.27) while sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff finished fourth (1.19)... Senior outside hitter Josselyn White was among the WAC leaders statistically as she was ninth in kills (2.73), eighth in blocks (1.01) and seventh in points (3.45) per set. Sophomore Paige Neves ranked seventh in the WAC in assists, (8.83 per set).
WHITE RANKS 10TH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN ATTACKS
Junior outside hitter Josselyn White ranks 10th all-time at Utah State with 2,250 career attacks and is 435 attacks away from tying Niki Conner (1995-98) for ninth all-time with 2,685 career attacks... White is also approaching the USU top 10 career lists in four other categories... She has 643 kills, needing 250 to crack into the career kills list... White has 258 career total blocks, needing 21 to tie for the No. 10 spot on the USU career total blocks list, as well as totalling 24 block solos, needing 13 to tie for the No. 10 spot on the career solo block list and logging 234 career block assists, needing 24 more to tie for 10.
Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen has 541 kills, needing 322 to break into the career top 10 kills list as well as having a .213 career hitting percentage, needing to improve by .013 to tie for the No. 10 mark on the career hitting percentage list.
Sophomore setter Paige Neves has 874 career assists, needing 406 more to crack into the top 10 career assists list.
RECAPPING LAST SEASON
Utah State finished the 2011 season with a 17-12 overall mark, posting an even 7-7 WAC record to tied for fourth in the conference... As the No. 4 seed, the Aggies lost to fifth-seeded Fresno State in three sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-10) in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament... Opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen earned second-team all-WAC honors following her junior season as she hit .202 and averaged 2.57 kills, 0.71 digs and 0.86 blocks per set... Setter Paige Neves was named to the WAC's all-freshman team in 2011 after hitting .225 and averaging 8.83 assists, 2.48 digs and 0.71 blocks... Sorensen hit .202 last season and averaged 2.57 kills, 0.71 digs and 0.86 blocks per set... Neves ranked seventh in the WAC in assists at 8.83 per set and added 2.48 digs per set as well as 16 service aces, second among the USU returners... Outside hitter Josselyn White was among the WAC leaders statistically last year as she was ninth in kills (2.73), eighth in blocks (1.01) and seventh in points (3.45) per set... Libero Ashlan Rogers averaged 2.61 digs per set as well as leading the team with 23 service aces a season ago as a freshman, while sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff was fourth in the WAC in blocks at 1.19 per set.
VARIOUS AGGIES NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS IN 2011
Utah State had several players named to various all-tournament teams in 2011 as it won its own Utah State Invitational and competed in tournaments hosted by Southern Utah and Long Beach State. Junior libero Laurel Bodily was named to the Southern Utah All-Tournament team. Senior outside hitter Liz McArthur was named to both the Utah State and Long Beach State All-Tournament teams. Junior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen was named to the Utah State Invitational All-Tournament team, and junior outside hitter Josselyn White was named the Most Valuable Player of the Utah State Invitational.
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