Nov. 13, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball will host San José State on Thursday, Nov. 14 in a Mountain West Conference match. First serve in the battle between the pair of former Western Athletic Conference foes is slated for 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
USU and SJSU are both in their first seasons in the Mountain West, as they both joined the league together from the WAC on July 1, 2013.
The Aggies have won 11 of their last 16 matches in posting a 16-9 overall and 9-4 Mountain West ledger. USU won its first two Mountain West matches in school history, as the Aggies are in their first year in the MW. Last weekend, Utah State won at Air Force in four sets on Thursday, before falling in straight-sets at New Mexico on Saturday.
USU is going for their second double-digit conference victory season, after posting a 15-3 WAC ledger last season. Overall, Utah State's next conference win will mark the Aggies' fourth season with double-figure conference wins in the last nine years and 11th season with double-figure conference wins in the 38 seasons of Aggie volleyball.
Utah State ranks third in the Mountain West in both opponent hitting percentage (.181) and aces per set (1.20). USU is also fourth in blocks per set (2.66), fifth in digs per set (14.97), seventh in hitting percentage (.212) and ninth in both kills per set (12.63) and assists per set (11.75).
Individually, sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) is third in the league in blocks per set both overall (1.33) and MW only matches in blocks (1.49). Senior middle blocker Alyssa Everett (Perry, Utah) is fifth in blocks per set both overall (1.20) and league only matches (1.28).
Junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) is sixth in both overall points (3.77) and overall kills (3.28), while ranking tied for eighth in league only kills (3.10).
Sophomore opposite side hitter Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) is tied with Orr for eighth in MW only in kills (3.10), while ranking 10th overall in kills (2.94), as well as eighth in league only points (3.64).
Junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) is fourth in assists in MW only (11.00) and fifth in assists overall (10.47), while also ranking eighth in MW only in aces per set (0.27).
Fellow junior, libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah) is third in digs per set both overall (4.17) and MW only (4.41). Rogers-Court is also sixth in serves aces in MW only (0.29) and 10th in overall aces per set (0.26).
The Spartans are 8-17 overall and 5-9 in MW play, having won their last three matches after losing their previous four. SJSU's two most recent wins were both five-setters won at home, beating San Diego State in five on Thursday and going the distance against UNLV on Saturday. The Spartans are 2-8 in road matches this season, including 1-5 in MW road action.
San José State is sixth in the MW statistics in hitting percentage (.213), ranking ninth in opponent hitting percentage (.251). The Spartans also are seventh in assists (12.27), kills (12.93), blocks (2.16) and digs (14.38), while ranking fifth in aces (1.14).
Individually, junior middle blocker Mary Alice O'Reilly is this week's Mountain West Volleyball Player of the Week, after recording a .325 hitting percentage with 3.70 kills per set, 15 blocks (1.50 bps) and three digs (0.30 dps) over the two matches in leading SJSU to a pair of five-set wins over San Diego State and UNLV. Against SDSU, she recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-high 19 kills and 12 blocks. O'Reilly is eighth in the MW in points (3.52). Sophomore setter Michaela Leonard is second in the league in assists (11.16), senior outside hitter Hanah Blume is third in kills (3.68) and ninth in digs (3.27). Senior middle blocker Sarah Griest is ninth in the conference in aces (0.28).
Utah State and San José State were former WAC foes and moved to the Mountain West together this summer and Thursday will be the 35th meeting, with SJSU leading 19-14-1. The Aggies first faced the Spartans in 1979. USU and SJSU have gone back-and-forth in their series, as the Aggies' 3-0 win on Sept. 28 in San José snapped a two-match win streak by the Spartans on their home court. Utah State has nabbed the win in the last two meetings in Logan.
Following Thursday's match, USU will remain at in the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, hosting another former WAC foe, Fresno State on Saturday, Nov. 16 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 who can't make the match can follow along with "Watch Live" and "GameTracker" links at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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.
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