USU volleyball: Spikers set to host Idaho Saturday

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Sept. 21 2012 6:33 p.m. MDT

Fresh off a thrilling five-set win Thursday night against Seattle, Utah State volleyball will host Idaho on Saturday, Sept. 22. First serve for the Western Athletic Conference match between the Aggies and Vandals is slated for 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

USU improved to 8-4 overall and 3-0 in WAC play Thursday night with a thrilling five-set win over Seattle as Aggie head coach Grayson DuBose became the second coaching position in school history to reach 100 career wins. Utah State is seeking its first-ever 4-0 start to WAC play and just its seventh 4-0 conference start in school history, also doing so in 2005, 2000, 1980, 1979, 1978 and 1977.

Idaho is 3-10 overall and 1-2 in WAC action after getting swept Thursday night at San Jose State. The Vandals have lost 10 of their last 11 after a 2-1 start to the season. UI is also 0-8 away from home this year.

Utah State leads the WAC overall in team blocking, averaging 3.10 blocks per set, as well as ranking second in WAC only matches with 3.25 bps. The Aggies blocking success also helps them lead the league in opponent hitting percentage both overall and conference only matches, as USU opponents are hitting just .163 overall and .128 in league matches. The middle blocker duo of redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) and sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff rank second and third in the WAC overall with 1.54 bps and 1.35 bps, respectively. In WAC only matches, Brainard is second with 1.75 bps, while VanHoff is sixth with 1.33 bps.

Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) leads USU with 2.93 kills per set to rank seventh in the WAC, while senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) adds 2.85 kps, ranking 10th in the league. Brainard is fifth in the conference in hitting percentage (.326), while Orr is 10th (.259).

Sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) is fourth in the WAC in assists with 9.74 per set. In Thursday's win, Neves broke into the USU career assists top 10 list, moving into 10th-place with 1,293, passing Mindi Jackson (1995-96) with 1,280 assists.

Sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) is fifth in the league in digs per set (3.93) and second in service aces per set (0.39).

Idaho is led by sophomore middle blocker Alyssa Schultz with a .356 attack percentage, ranking second in the WAC, while also ranking fourth in the conference in blocks per set with 1.17. Schultz leads the league in hitting percentage in WAC only matches with .438. Junior outside hitter Allison Walker is second in the league overall in kills per set with 4.43. Utah State volleyball tickets are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.

USU volleyball action can be followed live on the Internet with live stats available through the "Gametracker" link at www.UtahStateAggies.com. Aggie volleyball home matches are also streamed online by clicking on the "Watch Live" link at www.UtahStateAggies.com. There is a Utah State All-Access Monthly Subscription for $9.95 and a Utah State All-Access Yearly Subscription for $79.95.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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