Oct. 28, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball player Elle Brainard has been named the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Sunday, Oct. 27, in an award that is voted on by a state-wide media panel.
This is Brainard's second USU weekly honor of both the season and her career, earning both of Aggie volleyball's USU honors this season.
Brainard, a sophomore opposite side hitter from Saratoga Springs, Utah, led Utah State to a pair of Mountain West home wins last weekend against San Diego State (3-0) and UNLV (3-1), running the Aggies' win streak to five-straight. Against the Aztecs, Brainard had six kills on a .174 (6-2-23) attack percentage, adding three blocks and two digs. Against the Rebels, she had a career-high 21 kills to go with three blocks for a career-high 22.5 points, not to mention one assist and one dig. The 21 kills and is a season-high for a USU player this season, and the 21 kills is the third-most by a Mountain West player this season in a league match and the second-most in a four-set match. Brainard, who also had a career-high 51 attacks against UNLV, hit .216 (21-10-51). For the week, Brainard recorded a .203 (27-12-74) attack percentage and averaged 4.29 points, 3.86 kills, 0.86 blocks, 0.43 digs and 0.14 assists per set.
USU's five-match win streak is a season-long and its longest since a six-match win steak last season. With Saturday's win, the Aggies improved to 14-7 overall. Utah State's win creates a four-way logjam for second-place in the Mountain West standings with the Aggies, UNLV, Fresno State and New Mexico, all with 7-3 conference marks, at the midway point of conference play.
The Aggies continue their four-match homestand and open up the second-half of Mountain West play by hosting Wyoming on Thursday, Oct. 31 and ninth-ranked and league-leading Colorado State on Saturday, Nov. 2. Both matches start 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.
Fans who can't make the match can follow along with "Watch Live" and "GameTracker" links at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 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 GOLF - Junior Tanner Higham (Shelley, Idaho) shot a final round 4-under 68 to finish tied for 35th with a 4-over par 220 at the Cal State Northridge hosted Bill Cullum Invitational last week. Higham began the tournament with a 7-over 79, before fighting back with a 1-over 73 during his second round and a 4-under 68 during his final round. Utah State finished the tournament in 17th-place out of 20 teams with a 41-over 905 (301-311-293).
SOCCER - Redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Natalie Stoven (Cottowood Heights, Utah) was stellar in net as Utah State went 1-1-1 last week in Mountain West action with a win against Air Force (2-0), a tie against New Mexico (0-0, 2OT) and a loss to San Diego State (2-0). In the loss to first-place SDSU, Stoven recorded a career-high 12 saves, while allowing her only two goals of the week. Against UNM, she played 110 minutes without allowing a goal to go along with four saves. She also recorded a shutout in USU's win against Air Force. For the week, Stoven allowed only two goals in 290 minutes for a 0.62 goals against average and made 12 saves, facing 29 shots for a .889 save percentage.
2013-14 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
Sept. 30 - Tanner Higham, Golf
Oct. 7 - Sebastian Schneider, Men's Tennis
Oct. 14 - Seokwon Jeon, Golf
Oct. 21 - Joey DeMartino, Football
Oct. 28 - Elle Brainard, Volleyball
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