Utah State volleyball head coach Grayson DuBose and the Aggie volleyball team will be conducting its first scrimmage of the fall on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 9 a.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Aggies opened practice on Aug. 8, and while they have had scrimmage situations in practice, Saturday's scrimmage is the first official one of the fall.
"We want to put them through a match-day situation, from pre-match meal to warm-ups and everything in between," said DuBose, who opens his seventh season at the helm of the Aggie program. "This will give us an opportunity to tweak some things if we have to prior to our first official match next Friday."
Saturday's scrimmage will be an opportunity for fans to see the 2012 Aggies in action. This year's team returns five starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad that went 12-17 overall and finished in a tie for fourth-place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 7-7 league record.
The Aggies will kick off the season by hosting the Utah State Invitational, sponsored by Gossner Foods, on Aug. 24-25, welcoming in-state foes Utah, Southern Utah and Weber State, as well as Portland.
Among those returning for USU are senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah), who earned second-team all-WAC honors as a junior, and sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.), who was named to the WAC's all-Freshman team in 2011. Other starters returning for the Aggies include senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah), sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) and sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah).
Sorensen hit .202 last season and averaged 2.57 kills, 0.71 digs and 0.86 blocks per set. Neves ranked seventh in the WAC in assists at 8.83 per set and added 2.48 digs per set, as well as 16 service aces, second among the USU returners. White was among the WAC leaders statistically last year as she was ninth in kills (2.73 kps), eighth in blocks (1.01 bps) and seventh in points (3.45 pps). Rogers is the returning starter at libero, averaging 2.61 digs per set, as well as leading the team with 23 service aces a season ago, while VanHoff was fourth in the WAC in blocks at 1.19 per set.
Adding to the mix are three newcomers in junior college transfer Jocelyn Hobbs (Rexburg, Idaho) and a pair of in-state signees in freshmen Candace Richins (Kaysville, Utah) and McKell Staheli (Pleasant Grove, Utah). Hobbs is a middle blocker who joins the Aggies from nearby Western Wyoming Junior College. Outside hitter Richins comes to USU from Davis High School, and Staheli, a libero, joins the Aggies from Pleasant Grove High School.
The USU volleyball team opens the 2012 season with the Blue-White Scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 7 p.m. Prior to the scrimmage, the team will be holding a free Mother-Daughter skills clinic. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, and the clinic will run from 5-6 prior to the team's Blue-White Scrimmage.
The clinic, which is for children under the age of 14 and adults who are at least 18, will focus on basic volleyball technique, as well as providing up-to-date information on rule changes in the collegiate game. All participants will receive a free USU volleyball T-shirt, and the team will be available for autographs following the scrimmage.
Participants can register online on the Utah State Aggies website. For more information, contact the USU Volleyball Office at (435) 797-2063.
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.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.