Nov. 26, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball will host Nevada on Wednesday, Nov. 27 in the Aggies' season finale. First serve from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is slated for 7 p.m. (MT). Wednesday is Senior Night for USU as the Aggies will be honoring their two seniors, outside hitter Tumua Etimani and middle blocker Alyssa Everett.
The Aggies got back in the win column Monday night with a 3-1 win over Air Force after dropping a pair of matches last weekend to avoid their first three-match losing skid of the season, improving to 19-11 overall and 12-7 in Mountain West Conference play. USU is seeking its second 20-win season in a row and third in the last four years, all under head coach Grayson DuBose. USU is going for its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 2000 and 2001, when USU won 22 matches in 2000 and 20 in 2001. Overall, the Aggies are going for their 12th 20-match win season in school history in the 38 seasons of Aggie volleyball.
After going 2-24 through their first 26 matches of the season, Nevada has won two of their last four matches, all at home, for a 4-26 overall record, including 2-16 in MW action. Nevada beat Air Force, 3-1, on Nov. 22 before getting swept by New Mexico on Nov. 23. The Wolf Pack are 0-11 on the road, including 0-8 in league matches.
Prior to the match, the Aggies will be honoring Etimani and Everett, who will be playing their final match in a USU uniform.
"These two have left a nice legacy in Utah State Athletics," DuBose said. "I'm going to miss lots of things. I've been around Tumua for four years and Alyssa for three, so you pick up lots of things that you're going to miss. I'm just going to miss Tumua. She has this infectious smile, and she's a nice kid. You can get mad at her a little bit, but she's just going to keep smiling and trying hard. With Alyssa, her work ethic is what she leaves behind. Her legacy for her teammates is that she worked hard every day and pushed herself and her teammates to be better."
The Aggies have received significant contributions this season from Etimani (Richardson, Texas), who entered this season with just 17 kills and nearly doubled that in the first two matches with 24 as part of 39 total kills in first three matches of season. She progressively improved in both kills and digs each match of the opening weekend. On the season, Etimani now has a total of 18 matches with double-digit kills, having a streak of five in a row halted with only seven at New Mexico (11/9), but has double-digit kills in 13 of the last 19 matches. Etimani also has a total of 16 double-digit digs outings, leading to her sharing the team lead with 13 double-doubles this season. While she did not play in Monday's match due to an illness, she is expected to be in action Wednesday.
" Tumua has done a fabulous job. Sometimes you don't have the opportunity, she had people in front of her with more experience. She bided her time and kept working and grinding away and when she got her chance, she shined. It was kind of a cool deal for her," DuBose said. "Tumua's strength for us is her personality and who she is as a person. She cares about her teammates vehemently. If somebody insults them or isn't treating them right, you better not let Tumua hear you because she'll be up in your grill making sure that doesn't happen again. She's a good teammate. She treats them really well and it's neat."
After missing last season with a knee injury, Everett (Perry, Utah) has made a smashing return to action. In her season debut, Everett posted eight blocks and four kills on .500 attack pct. at Utah (8/30). Everett tied her then season-high with eight blocks in the win over Pacific (9/7), adding six blocks at Weber State (9/10) before breaking through with a career-high 10 block assists against Boise State (9/18). She has a total of 15 matches with four or more blocks, including six in Monday's win to go with six kills. Everett enters Wednesday's match sixth in blocks per set overall (1.19 bps) and sixth in league only matches (1.23 bps).
"Alyssa sat out last year, and the people she came in with, and thought she'd graduate with, but that just didn't happen. She came back from that injury stronger than she did before. I'm really impressed with who she is as a person, not just as an athlete," DuBose said. "Alyssa comes in as a junior college transfer, having had a lot of success that has impacted our program and record books. She's done a nice job. The thing I like about her is her personality. She's just a good kid and she works hard. Every day she brings it and tries to make herself a little bit better than she was before. That's all I can ask for as a coach."
The Aggie senior class of 2013 has created many memories together as individuals, as a senior class and as part of a team that is on the verge of another 20-win season, leaving their mark in the program's record books.
"I've given marbles (a conditioning drill) to Tumua more than any kid I've ever coached. There's a vivid memory. She'd do it again and again, but wouldn't complain. Alyssa is enthusiastic when she blocks a ball. She turns around, and you can see it in her eyes when she's playing volleyball. She loves what she does," DuBose said. "Those are things I'll miss and hopefully never forget. They're great kids and I love them. I love what they've done for our program and how they've impacted our team. I'm fortunate to have been their coach for these years. Hopefully, they leave as better people than when they got here."
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 matches 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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