Utah State volleyball punctuated the 2017 season with an overall mark of 16-14 and a league mark of 8-10 in the Mountain West, finishing in a tie for sixth place in the conference standings. The Aggies finished the year with four victories in their final seven matches after opening the year with one of the best starts since 2010. The start also included a 3-0 record over the first three matches of the conference season, the best start in league play since the 2013 campaign.
Senior outside Lauren Anderson was named all-Mountain West for the second consecutive season, marking the first time since 2014 that an Aggie has earned two all-conference honors in their career, and the first time since 2013 that an Aggie has been honored in back-to-back seasons.
Utah State head coach Grayson DuBose secured his 100th conference victory at the helm of the Aggies with USU’s 3-0 win over UNLV on Oct. 28.
Anderson’s season total is the ninth-most in a single season in school history.
Junior libero Tasia Taylor etched her name in the Utah State record book, logging 25 digs in USU’s three-set victory over UNLV on Oct. 28. Taylor broke the previous school record of 24 digs in a three-set match set by Christine Morrill on Nov. 4, 2010, against Boise State.
Record-Setting Digs - Part II
Taylor finished the season with 525 digs, the fourth-most in a single season in school history.
Two of the Best Hitters in USU history
Anderson and senior right side Kayla DeCoursey finished their careers among the best in career hitting percentage, hitting .253 (851-291-2,214) and .239 (688-245-1,850) and finishing ninth and 10th, respectively, in the Utah State record books.
No Ace for You
Utah State had a perfect serve receive against UNLV on Oct. 28, marking the only time this season that a USU opponent did not record a service ace.
MW Defensive Player of the Week, Sept. 18
Taylor led all players in digs the week of September 11 en route to being named the MW Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 18. In the 3-0 win at Weber State that week, Taylor led both teams with 14 digs and added two assists. In the 3-1 win at Southern Utah, Taylor recorded a career-high 28 digs, as part of a season-high 84 digs for the team, and added four assists and one ace. For the week, Taylor totaled 42 digs, averaging 6.00 per set, six assists and one service ace.
Northern Arizona All-Tournament Team
Senior outside Lauren Anderson and senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey were named to the Lumberjack Classic all-tournament team after proving to be the most efficient hitters for USU on the outside during the tournament. Anderson totaled 44 kills, averaging 4.40 per set, hit .297 (44-14-101) and also logged 27 digs, six blocks, two aces and one assist. DeCoursey finished second on the team with 11 blocks, while recording 26 kills, hitting .246 (26-9-69) and tallying 10 digs and two service aces.
Utah State All-Tournament Team
Senior middle Carly Lenzen and junior middle Lauren O’Brien were named to the Utah State all-tournament team. Lenzen finished the weekend with 20 kills, hitting .306 (20-5-49), and totaled 12 blocks, six digs and two service aces. O’Brien led the USU block with 15 during the three-game stretch and also was the most efficient attacker, hitting .308 with 17 kills on 39 attempts with only five errors.
Arkansas All-Tournament Team
Senior outside Lauren Anderson and junior libero Tasia Taylor were named to the Arkansas Classic all-tournament team. Anderson finished the weekend with 41 kills, 18 digs and five service aces, hitting .279 (41-10-111). Taylor recorded double-digit digs in all three matches, totaling 53 on the weekend and averaging 5.30 per set.
Senior outside Lauren Anderson recorded the most attempts of any Mountain West player during the first weekend of the season with her career-high 69 attempt-effort against CSU Bakersfield on Aug. 26. Anderson finished the match with 22 kills, one shy of her career high.
Anderson entered the 2017 season with only two 20-plus kill performances in her career, but surpassed that total with nine 20-plus kill outings this season, including career-high-tying 23-kill outings against San Diego State on Sept. 21, at Wyoming on Nov. 4, and against Air Force on Nov. 11.
Killing 20’s - Part II
Anderson’s nine matches with 20 or more kills were the most in a single season since Amanda Nielson recorded 10 matches with 20 or more kills during the 2007 season.
Junior libero Tasia Taylor recorded double-digit digs in all but two matches this season, including a career-high 28 at Southern Utah on Sept. 15.
Taylor and Anderson both logged 20 or more digs in Utah State’s 3-1 victory over Southern Utah on Sept. 15, recording career highs of 28 and 23, respectively. It was the first time since the 2013 season that USU teammates had tallied 20 or more digs in the same match.
Utah State had four players record double-digit digs in the same match twice this season, including against San Diego State on Sept. 21, and in the home finale against Nevada on Nov. 16.
Taylor recorded 20 or more digs in a match 11 times this season and logged 15 or more digs in 22 contests this year, including eight of the last nine.
Digging in for victory
Utah State was most successful this season when the Aggies have strong performances from their back row. In its 16 victories this season, Utah State averaged 16.72 digs per set, but in its 14 losses, USU has averaged 12.29 digs per set.
Hitting the winning stride
Utah State hit the ball better during its victories in 2017, hitting .256 (822-268-2,164) in its 16 wins to just .142 (521-292-1,614) in its 14 losses. USU has also held opponents to .155 (730-380-2,259) in its 16 victories, while foes have hit .275 (707-256-1,641) in the Aggies’ 14 losses.
Redshirt freshman Jaysa Funk recorded five double-doubles during the season. Funk’s total is the most for a freshman since Paige Neves recorded 12 double-doubles during the 2011 season.
Utah State swept CSU Bakersfield this season in a pair of meetings with the Roadrunners, posting a 3-1 win on Aug. 26, and a 3-0 win on Sept. 8. The matches marked the first time that USU faced a non-conference opponent twice in the same season since 2009.
Utah State recorded a conference sweep over UNLV this season with a 3-1 victory in Las Vegas on Sept. 28, followed by a 3-0 victory in Logan on Oct. 28.
Utah State is undefeated (16-0) and has collected all of its victories this season when leading its opponent in hitting percentage.
Winning with .200
Utah State was best offensively when hitting .200 or better, carrying an overall mark of 14-2.
Winning with Quick Starts
Utah State was best when getting an early lead over its opponent, as the Aggies were 12-1 this season when capturing the first set, and unbeaten (8-0) when winning each of the first two sets.
Head coach Grayson DuBose is the longest-tenured head coach in USU volleyball history, completing his 12th year in 2017.
Utah State was 13-4 this year when matching or logging more digs than its opponents. The Aggies were 13-2 this season when holding opponents to less than a .199 hitting percentage.
DuBose coached his 350th match as head coach of the Aggies when USU hosted Wyoming on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Home Sweet Home
With its victory over Air Force on Nov. 11, Utah State secured a winning season at home for the 11th time in 12 years under head coach Grayson DuBose.
Mountain West Team Leaders
Utah State was among the top five in the Mountain West in several statistical categories, including second in digs per set (14.72), third in service aces per set (1.41), and fifth in blocks per set (2.31).
Mountain West Individual Leaders
Senior outside Lauren Anderson was second in both kills per set (4.13) and points per set (4.68). Junior libero Tasia Taylor was second in the Mountain West with 4.87 digs per set and junior setter Kassidy Johnson was third in the league with 10.35 assists per set and ninth in service aces per set, averaging 0.28.
Utah State seniors Lauren Anderson, Rachel Gale-Hammond, Kayla DeCoursey and Carly Lenzen combined to play in more than 1,100 sets and totaled more than 1,700 kills, 1,100 digs, 650 blocks and close to 150 service aces.
Utah State was picked sixth in the annual preseason Mountain West Coaches’ poll, projected to finish in the middle of the pack of the 11-member league. Colorado State was picked first for the fourth consecutive year, earning 98 points and eight first-place votes. Boise State, the 2016 Mountain West champion, followed with 93 points and the remaining three first-place votes. San Diego State (79), Wyoming (67) and Nevada (57) preceded Utah State on the list at three, four and five. The Aggies earned 51 points and were followed by UNLV (42), San José State (38), New Mexico (37), Fresno State (29) and Air Force (14).
Summers in Europe
Utah State has three current players that played with the Mountain West All-Stars in the World Volleyball Classic in Pula, Croatia.
Senior outside Lauren Anderson traveled with the team last summer, helping the All-Stars to a second-place finish in the tournament. Senior right side Kayla DeCoursey was a member of the team during the summer of 2016, helping the team to a third-place finish. Senior outside Rachel Gale was a member of the team during the summer of 2015 as the All-Stars finished third.
All-Mountain West - 2016
Senior outside Lauren Anderson was named all-Mountain West last season after leading the Aggies during their conference slate with 234 kills, averaging 3.49 per set and hitting .263 (234-75-615). Anderson finished the conference season ranked No. 6 in the Mountain West with her 3.49 kills per set and finished No. 10 in the league with 3.69 points per set.
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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