Sept. 23, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball player Elle Brainard has been named the America First Credit Union Utah State Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Sept. 22, in an award that is voted on by a state-wide media panel.
Brainard, a sophomore opposite hitter from Saratoga Springs, Utah, led Utah State to its first-ever Mountain West victory with a 3-0 sweep over Boise State Wednesday night at home as the Aggie volleyball team was the first USU team to host a MW event, and added a 3-1 win over BSU on Saturday in Boise. In Wednesday's sweep over the Broncos, Brainard smashed 11 kills with a season-high eight blocks. In Saturday's four-set win at Boise, Brainard posted 13 kills with a .344 (13-2-32) attack percentage, adding three blocks and one assist. Ironically, Brainard was in on the block assist that was the winning point in both victories over Boise State. Brainard now has nine matches with double-digit kills this season, as well as eight matches with three or more blocks for the season and three matches with over .300 attack percentage this season. For the week, Brainard hit .271 (24-8-59) with 3.43 kills and 1.57 blocks per set.
So for this season, Brainard is averaging a .213 (133-53-375) attack percentage, posting 2.77 kills per set, 3.22 points per set and 0.88 blocks per set. Brainard is fourth in the Mountain West only stats in points per set (4.21), sixth in both kills per set (3.43) and blocks per set (1.57). She has posted double-digit kills in nine matches this season, including the first five matches and nine matches this season, as well as recording over a .300 attack percentage in three matches this season, led by .500 in two matches. Brainard has also registered three or more blocks in eight matches.
This is Brainard's first USU weekly honor of her career, and it is also the first USU honor for an Aggie volleyball player this season.
Brainard and the Aggies are currently atop the Mountain West standings with a 2-0 league mark as part of their 8-4 overall record. USU will face a pair of fellow former Western Athletic Conference foes this weekend, first taking on Fresno State (6-6, 0-0 MW) on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. (MT) at Fresno State's Save Mart Center (3,333). The Aggies then take on San José State (3-7, 0-0 MW) on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. (MT) at SJSU's Event Center (5,000). SJSU joined the MW from the WAC with Utah State this past summer.
Live stats and live video for this weekend's matches will be available via "GameTracker" and "Watch Live" links at www.utahstateaggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics.
The Aggies return home to host New Mexico on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m.
Utah State volleyball tickets are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
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, on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics or on instagram at instagram.com/usuathletics.
Nominees from other sports for USU Student-Athlete of the Week included:
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY - Senior Kyle McKenna (Farmington, Utah) finished third with a time of 25:16.00 in the five-mile race to lead the Utah State men to a second-place team finish at the Bozeman Running Company Montana State Invitational last weekend.
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY - Senior Alex Litzsinger (Pocatello, Idaho) led Utah State to a team victory at the Bozeman Running Company Montana State Invitational as she finished fifth in the three-mile race with a time of 17:39.00.
FOOTBALL - Junior linebacker Zach Vigil (Clearfield, Utah) recorded a career-high 12 tackles and recovered a fumble in Utah State's 17-14 loss at USC.
SOCCER - Senior forward Jennifer Flynn (Sandy, Utah) came off the bench in Utah State's road loss at Utah (3-0) and home loss to Weber State (1-0) and finished the weekend tied for the team lead in shots with four. For the week, the senior had two shots against Utah and added two more against Weber State in 87 minutes of action.
MEN'S TENNIS - Senior Andrew Whiting (Las Vegas, Nev.) won three singles matches en route to placing third in Flight C at the Weber State Invitational last weekend.
WOMEN'S TENNIS - Freshman Katie Sweet (Salt Lake City, Utah) earned three singles wins at the Boise State hosted Jack Taylor Classic last weekend on her way to the championship match of the White Flight. Sweet, who didn't lose a set during her run to the finals, also posted a 1-1 record in the doubles bracket.
Utah State Athlete of the Week Winners
Sept. 2 - Jeannie Woller, Soccer
Sept. 9 - Chuckie Keeton, Football
Sept. 16 - Chuckie Keeton, Football
Sept. 23 - Elle Brainard, Volleyball
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