Aggie Volleyball Locking Horns With 13th-Ranked Rams Thursday
Oct. 9, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball will play away from home for the 14th time in its 16 matches when the Aggies travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to lock horns with the 13th-ranked Rams of Colorado State on Thursday, Oct. 10. First serve is slated for 7:30 p.m. (MT) from CSU's Moby Arena.
The Aggies will be playing their first nationally-ranked opponent this season, as Colorado State is No. 13 in this week's American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top 25 Poll. CSU is also No. 25 in the first NCAA Women's Volleyball RPI of the season, released this week. At No. 13, the Rams are the Aggies' highest-ranking opponent since playing No. 8 Hawai'i on Oct. 21, 2011.
Thursday's match between the Aggies and Rams was labeled as one of the AVCA's "Matches of the Week," in a clash between last year's Mountain West Conference regular-season champion in Colorado State and last season's Western Athletic Conference regular-season champion in Utah State. The Aggies are in their first season in the MW after eight years in the WAC.
Utah State and Colorado State will be facing each other for the first time since 2001, as the Rams lead the overall series, 17-14. First meeting in 1976, USU won the first 11 meetings and 14 of the first 15, before CSU won the last 16 match-ups, including the most recent, in 2001, winning, 3-1. The Aggies' last win over the Rams was a 3-0 sweep in 1982.
Thursday is USU's first match in a week, as the Aggies last played on Oct. 3 after their match against Air Force scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5 was postponed due to the partial government shutdown. Both institutions as well as the Mountain West Conference office are working on possible make up dates.
Utah State is 9-6 overall and 3-2 in MW play after losing to New Mexico, 3-0, on Oct. 3. The Aggies have won four of their last six matches in posting a 9-6 overall record, boosted by winning their first two Mountain West matches as part of taking three of their first five league matches.
The Aggies are sixth in the league in offensive hitting percentage (.210), while ranking fourth in opponent hitting percentage (.193), as well as fourth in the conference in blocks per set (2.52). USU also is seventh in digs (14.47 dps), while ranking seventh in aces (1.14 saps) and ninth in both assists (11.41 aps) and kills (12.17 kps).
USU is led by junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.), who leads the team with 3.41 kills per set, posting a .196 (198-88-562) attack percentage. She also tallies 2.38 digs per set, sharing the team lead with six double-doubles this season. Orr adds 0.62 blocks per set. Senior middle blocker Alyssa Everett (Perry, Utah), tops the team with a 1.23 blocks per set average, as well as logging a .230 (33-13-87) attack percentage, adding 0.58 kps. Junior middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah), adds 1.16 blocks per set and registers a .238 (114-47-282) attack percentage with 1.97 kps.
Junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) dishes out 9.98 assists per set, adding 2.35 digs per set. While averaging 0.58 kills per set, Neves has a .456 (35-4-68) attack percentage. Junior libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah) leads the team with 3.81 digs per set. Rogers-Court has also served-up a team-leading 15 service aces, while Neves and freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gleason (Las Flores, Calif.), add 11 aces apiece, followed by Orr with 10.
Everett is third in the league in MW only in blocks per set (1.53), while ranking fourth overall (1.23). VanHoff is sixth in MW only blocks (1.25), while ranking ninth overall (1.16). Orr is sixth in overall in both points (3.92) and kills (3.41), while ranking ninth in league only in points (3.74).
While not ranking in the overall stats, sophomore opposite side hitter Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah), is fifth in MW only stats in both points per set (4.18), and kills per set (3.53) and ninth in blocks per set (1.29). Neves is fourth in league matches in assists (11.12), while ranking sixth overall (9.98). Rogers-Court is fifth in overall digs (3.81 dps), while ranking eighth in MW only (3.65).
The 13th-ranked Rams are 13-0 overall and sit atop the Mountain West standings with a 4-0 league ledger. Colorado State is also No. 25 in the first NCAA Women's Volleyball RPI of the season, released this week. CSU is coming off three-straight road conference matches, sweeping Air Force on Sept. 26, beating New Mexico in five sets on Sept. 28 and winning in four sets at Nevada on Oct. 3.
Colorado State leads the league and is seventh in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.313) and is the only team in the conference hitting better than .300. The Rams also are first in the MW in kills (14.87 kps), also ranking seventh in the nation, along with ranking first in the conference and 16th in the country in assists (13.52 aps). CSU is also tops in the league in aces (1.39 saps), while ranking second in opponent hitting percentage (.172), third in blocks (2.73 bps) and ninth in digs (13.54 dps).
CSU's attack is directed by junior setter Deedra Foss, who leads the league and ranks fifth in the NCAA in assists (11.96 aps). Sophomore opposite hitter Adrianna Culbert is seventh in the MW in both kills (3.20 kps) and points (3.78 pps). Foss and Culbert are both tied for fourth in service aces (0.30 saps). Senior middle blocker Samantha Peters is second in the league and 30th in the NCAA in attack percentage (.404), while ranking tied for seventh in blocks (1.17 bps/49 in 42 sets). Junior middle blocker Kelsey Snider is sixth in the conference in blocks (1.17 bps/54 in 46 sets). Sophomore libero Jaime Colaizzi is seventh in digs (3.70 dps), while junior outside hitter Marlee Reynolds is ninth in kills (3.13 kps).
After Thursday's match at Fort Collins, Utah State continues its weekend road trip by crossing the Colorado-Wyoming border and facing Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in Laramie, Wyo.,
The Aggies will return home to host in-state foe Utah Valley in a non-conference match on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
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.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Utah State volleyball team wants to help by raising money for Logan Regional Hospital Foundations's Breast Cancer Services. Pledges are now being gathered for every dig the Aggies make during their six home matches in October as part of USU's "Dig for a Cure" campaign.
For each dig (a defensive move made to control a spiked ball) the Aggies are asking for a donation of $0.25. If the Aggies record 200 total digs in the six matches, a pledge of $0.25 will result in $50. Half of this donation will go to the Logan Regional Hospital Foundation to assist in Breast Cancer Services while the other half will be used to support the USU Volleyball team. Pledges can be made in any amount and flat donations are also accepted and appreciated. Pledge and donation forms will be available at the matches at the marketing/promotions table on the west concourse of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Any pledge or donation received will enter the fan's name into a drawing which will take place the last home match in October, on Thursday, Oct. 31 vs. Wyoming. Prizes include: T-shirts, volleyballs and team photos. Come cheer on the Aggies during their October matches and keep track of their digs to help them "Dig for a Cure." For more information or to donate, contact USU Assistant Coach Taubi Neves at email@example.com or 435-797-2063, or go to: http://bit.ly/RtaUKK.
Fans can also follow the Aggie volleyball program on twitter 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.