Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen and sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr pounded 17 kills apiece to lead Utah State volleyball to a wild five-set win (22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 15-5) over Montana Friday in the San Diego State Aztec Challenge.
The Aggies registered a season-high 68 kills to pace them to their third-straight win overall. USU won its first road match of the season in improving to 5-1, while Montana slid to 0-4. The Aggies earned their second-straight win over the Grizzlies and now trail the all-time series, 8-7.
Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) not only matched her jersey number for kills, but she also set a new career-high for kills as well as with a .419 attack percentage (17-4-31). For the match, USU hit .292 (68-23-154), nearly improving in every set, hitting .222 in the first set, .286 in the second, .282 in the third before improving to .357 in the fourth and .375 in the fifth and deciding set. In addition to its season-high for kills, the Aggies also notched a season-best 154 attacks as well as top totals on the season with 89 points and 62 assists while tying a season-high seven service aces.
Friday was also a season-high kills for Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) as well as logging a career-best 16 digs. Senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) added 10 kills. Sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) also dished out a career-best 58 assists while the middle blocker duo of sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) and redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) each recorded six blocks as USU recorded 14.0 total blocks.
Montana also had four players with double-digit kills led by Kayla Reno's 16 kills while Kelsey Schile added 13. Brooke Bray notched 12 and Paige Branstiter logged 10 killls as the Grizzlies hit .205 (54-24-146) for the night. Kortney James dished out 47 assists while Megan Murphey posted 12 digs. Bray led UM with seven blocks as the Grizzlies notched 12.0 total blocks.
The Aggies continue action in the SDSU Challenge with two matches on Saturday, facing Sacred Heart at 10:30 a.m. (MT) before returning to the court at 8:30 p.m. (MT) to face the Aztecs.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.