Fresh off its first six-match road win streak since 1978, Utah State volleyball will do something else it hasn't done since that same year on Thursday, Oct. 25, when the Aggies host the Mavericks of UT Arlington at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
UT Arlington is one of the five new teams to the Western Athletic Conference this season, and Thursday is UTA's second all-time visit to Logan. Of the 13 meetings between the Aggies and Mavericks, this season’s earlier match-up at Arlington on Sept. 29, won in three sets by USU, was only the fourth time on one of the team's home court.
The Aggies have won five of their last six WAC home matches, as well as winning seven of their last night matches, on the way to a 15-7 overall and WAC leading 10-2 conference record. Last Saturday’s win at Seattle gave USU its 10th WAC victory of the season, the first time the Aggies have reached double-digit conference wins since winning 11 league matches in 2007.
UT Arlington brings a 8-15 overall and 4-7 WAC record into Thursday’s match. UTA split its two matches last week at home, knocking off New Mexico State in four sets on Oct. 18, before getting beat by Denver in four sets on Oct. 20. The loss to DU snapped a two-match win streak for the Mavericks, who have now lost five of their last seven matches.
Utah State continues to lead the WAC overall in blocking at 3.08 blocks per set and the Aggies also second in the league in WAC only matches at 3.03 blocks per set. USU’s defense also leads the conference in opponent hitting percentage (.165) and is second in WAC only matches (.138).
This week’s WAC Volleyball Player of the Week, senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah), is sixth in the WAC in overall kills per set (3.13) and WAC only kills per set (3.41), as well as fifth for overall points per set (3.87) and fourth for conference only matches for points per set (4.14). Sorensen has logged a double-double in nine of USU’s last 15 matches and has a team-leading 10 on the season.
UTA’s top ranking in the WAC statistics is digs, as the Mavericks are third in the league overall with 15.95 digs per set, while ranking fourth in the WAC only matches (16.18). UT Arlington is seventh or lower in the other six categories for both overall and WAC only matches.
The Mavericks are led by sophomore middle blocker Ashley Bennett, who is eighth in the WAC for conference only matches with a .322 attack percentage. Sophomore defensive specialist Valerie Stetzer is fifth in the league in WAC only matches for digs per set (4.00), while junior outside hitter Shelby Dickson is sixth with 3.90 dps. Sophomore setter Amanda Welsch is fifth in the WAC for overall assists per set (9.37) and league only matches (8.95).
USU will close out its seven home matches in October by hosting Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.
Utah State will be also be wrapping up its "Dig for a Cure" campaign as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help raise money for Logan Regional Hospital Foundation's Breast Cancer Services. Pledges are being gathered for every dig the Aggies make during their 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.
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.