LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball will face the first of its three in-state opponents this week, hosting Utah Valley on Tuesday at 7 p.m., on Kirby Court at the Wayne Estes Center.
The Aggies lead the all-time series 11-6 and have won each of the last two and three of the last four. The teams last met in Logan during the 2015 season, a 3-2 victory for Utah State, when then-sophomore outside Rachel Gale-Hammond logged a career-high 27 kills and then-freshman setter Kassidy Johnson recorded a double-double of 54 assists and 11 digs.
Gale-Hammond is third on the team in kills this season, totaling 41 as senior outside Lauren Anderson leads the way with 93 kills, averaging 4.23 per set, followed by senior right side Kayla DeCoursey with 44 kills. Johnson started the first three matches for the Aggies this season, averaging 10.90 assists per set, but has been out with a leg injury since. Redshirt freshman Jaysa Funk has stepped into the role and recorded a pair of double-doubles last weekend during the Utah State Invitational with 30 assists and 10 digs against UC Santa Barbara and 46 assists and 15 digs against Pacific.
Overall, Utah State is 4-2 on the year and hitting .219 (259-90-771). Junior libero Tasia Taylor leads the back row with 109 digs, averaging 4.95 digs per set (third in the Mountain West). Junior middle Lauren O’Brien and senior middle Carly Lenzen pace the USU block, totaling 23 and 22 blocks on the year and averaging 1.10 and 1.00 blocks per set, respectively.
Utah Valley will play at Idaho State on Monday night before stopping in Logan on its return trip to Orem. The Wolverines are currently 3-4 on the year and coming off of a 2-1 showing at the Wolverine Invitational last weekend in Orem, beating Montana (3-0) and Long Beach State (3-1).
UVU is hitting .216 (304-114-878) this season and led by senior middle Madison Dennison with 77 kills, averaging 4.02 per set, and senior outside Lexi Thompson with 71 kills, averaging 3.06 per set. Freshman outside Kirsten Allred is also averaging more than three kills per set, totaling 63 on the year and averaging 3.17 per set. Senior setter Sierra Starley directs the attack with 240 assists on the year, while freshman libero Seren Merrill is tops on the back row with 94 digs, averaging 3.76 per set. Dennison also leads the UVU block, totaling 37.0 on the year and averaging 1.48 per set, while Utah Valley opponents have hit .245 (364-138-921).
Following the match with Utah Valley, Utah State will play its final tournament of the year and travel to Flagstaff, Ariz., for the Lumberjack Classic, facing Northern Arizona, CSU Bakersfield and Arizona State.
Tickets for the season can be purchased online at utahstateaggies.com, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum ticket office or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie volleyball program on Twitter @USUVolleyball, on Facebook at USUVolleyball or on Instagram at @usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.
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