Utah State volleyball did something Saturday it had never accomplished in its eight years in the Western Athletic Conference, as it swept San Jose State, 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-19), and was the Aggies' first-ever five-match WAC win streak. The five-match WAC win streak is USU's longest since a 2001 when the Aggies won six Big West Conference matches in a row.
With the sweep of SJSU Saturday, USU improved to 13-6 overall and ends the first half of its WAC schedule with an 8-1 conference mark, remaining atop the WAC standings. San Jose State falls to 8-11 overall and 4-5 in WAC action. Saturday was the Spartans' fourth loss in its last five matches. It was also USU's fifth win over SJSU in its last seven meetings.
Saturday's match was USU head coach Grayson DuBose's 200th career match at the helm of the Aggies' program. It was also the fourth of USU's five-straight home matches at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies will wrap up the busy six days and the five-match homestand Monday, hosting UTSA at 7 p.m. A WAC newcomer, the Roadrunners will be making their first-ever visit to Logan.
Utah State Athletics is offering a special $5 “Family Pack” for Monday night’s match. The “Family Pack” will include two adult tickets and two youth tickets. Additional tickets will be regular priced ($5 for adult & $1 for youth). This special is only available Monday night at the USU Ticket Office before the match.
Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) led USU with a match-high 12 kills on a .524 attack percentage (12-1-21), cooling off after pounding a kill in nine of her first 10 attacks for a school-record pace of .900 attack percentage late in the second set. Orr was one of three USU players with a +.500 attack percentage, as redshirt-freshman middle blocker Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) notched seven kills on a .636 (7-0-11) hitting percentage and sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) tallied a .750 (3-0-4) attack percentage.
Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) added eight kills, helping USU to 41 in the match as the Aggies hit .290 (41-12-100), hitting .423 (13-2-26) in set one and .375 (17-2-40) in the second frame.
Brainard tallied six block assists to share match-high blocking honors with teammate and fellow middle blocker, sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah), who finished with one block solo and five block assists. Sorensen added five and Neves notched four, as the Aggies registered 15.5 total team blocks and limited SJSU to a .039 (33-28-128) attack percentage.
Neves also dished out a match-high 33 assists, while sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) registered a match-best 14 digs.
SJSU was led by Mary Alice O'Reilly with 10 kills on a .269 (10-3-26) attack percentage, while Samantha O'Connell and Krista Miller added seven kills each. O'Reilly tallied three block assists as the Spartans tallied five total team blocks. Michaela Leonard recorded 30 assists, while Miller led the team with 12 digs.
USU jumped out to a 9-6 set one lead after a kill by Orr, forcing an SJSU timeout. Senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) was a force at the net with a solo block, followed by a tandem block with Brainard for a 20-12 Aggie advantage, and White later recorded one of her four kills on the night to seal the set victory at 25-17.
San Jose State called another early timeout in the second set after the Aggies got out to an 8-3 lead following an SJSU attack error, but the home team didn't slow down, stretching its lead to 11-3 after back-to-back kills by Sorensen and Orr. Consecutive kills by Brainard and Sorensen extended USU's lead to 20-11. VanHoff and White later had kills for two-straight USU points with White ending her second and final set of play with a kill for USU's 25-15 set win.
Freshman outside hitter Candace Richins (Kaysville, Utah) replaced White in the Aggies' lineup and pounded three kills in the set, the first giving USU an early 4-1 lead. SJSU cut the gap to 10-9 on a kill by Hanah Blume, but that would be the closest the visitors would get, as USU would go on to score eight of the next 10 points. The Aggies opened up an 18-11 advantage after a trio block by Sorensen, Brainard and Richins. The Spartans whittled the gap to 20-18 after back-to-back paired blocks by O'Reilly and O'Connell, but the Aggies pulled away and Orr ended the set and the match with a kill for USU's 25-19 set and match win.
Utah State will be continuing its "Dig for a Cure" campaign as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help raise money for Logan Regional Hospital Foundations's Breast Cancer Services. Pledges are now being gathered for every dig the Aggies make during their seven home matches in October as part of USU's "Dig for a Cure" campaign. Pledges can be made in any amount and flat donations are also accepted and appreciated. Pledge and donation forms will be available at the matches at the marketing/promotions table on the west concourse of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
The Utah State Campus Store is donating 20 percent of all pink merchandise sales during the month of October to Aggie volleyball's "Dig for a Cure" campaign.
After road matches at Idaho on Thursday, Oct. 18, and at Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 20, USU returns home to host UT Arlington on Thursday, Oct. 25, and Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 27. All Aggie home matches start at 7 p.m.
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.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.