LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball will begin its first conference road trip of the year at UNLV on Thursday, facing the Rebels in Las Vegas, Nev., at 7 p.m. (MT). The Aggies enter the match on their best start overall, 10-4, since the 2010 season and have opened their conference slate 2-0 for the first time since 2013.
During the opening weekend of conference play, Utah State swept San Diego State and Fresno State in four sets, 3-1, as senior outside Lauren Anderson recorded double-doubles in each match. In the 3-1 win over San Diego State, Anderson logged a career-high-tying 23 kills, hitting .308 (23-7-52), and added 12 digs, two blocks and one service ace. In the 3-1 victory over Fresno State, Anderson led Utah State with 13 kills, hitting .235 (13-5-34), and added 11 digs, three service aces and a career-high four blocks. On the year, Anderson ranks second in the Mountain West in both kills and points per set, averaging 4.16 and 4.70, respectively.
The opening weekend of conference play also marked the return of junior setter Kassidy Johnson, who had missed the previous nine matches because of injury. Johnson totaled 92 assists, averaging 11.50 per set, and finished third on the team with 20 digs. Junior libero Tasia Taylor led the Aggies with 38 total digs during the two-match stretch, averaging 4.75 per set. Taylor is currently second in the league in digs per set, averaging 4.98, as the Aggies rank second as a team overall with 15.43 digs per set.
UNLV will enter the match with an overall mark of 4-11 and still looking for its first conference victory after starting 0-2 with losses at Wyoming and Colorado State. The Rebels are led offensively by freshman outside Mariena Hayden with 158 kills, averaging 2.72 per set. Sophomore setter Riley Jacobs has directed the UNLV attack, totaling 496 assists and averaging 8.70 per set, while the Rebels have hit .151 (619-328-1,930) during the year.
Defensively, senior middle Ashley Owens leads the UNLV block with 72, averaging 1.24 per set to rank fourth in the league. Sophomore libero Leka Kiner-Falefa leads the UNLV back row with 244 digs, averaging 4.02 per set. Hayden and Kiner-Falefa also lead the Rebels behind the service line with 21 and 16 service aces on the year, respectively.
UNLV leads the all-time series with Utah State, 8-2, and has won each of the last six matches. The Aggies last beat the Rebels during the 2013 season, a 3-1 victory in Logan during USU’s first year in the Mountain West, and have yet to secure a victory in Las Vegas since joining the league.
Fans can follow the match on Thursday night via live stat and video links online at utahstateaggies.com.
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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