USU volleyball: Seniors finishing well-decorated Aggie careers

By Megan Allen

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 2:33 p.m. MST

On Wednesday night, the Utah State volleyball team will take the floor of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for the final time this season. For three Aggies, this match against Texas State will be the last time they will suit up in front of their home crowd.

Setter Kassi Hargrove, opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen and outside hitter Josselyn White have spent four years as a part of Aggie volleyball, and in that time, they have been a part of a dynamic program.

Without hesitation, each senior will tell you that her favorite memory of her college volleyball career so far happened on Nov. 24, 2010. In the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., the Aggies swept No. 3 Hawai’i, 3-0, to claim the first WAC Tournament title in school history.

“That was definitely one of the best volleyball memories I’ve ever had,” White said. “It was so unexpected. To be able to go in and really come together as a team and see it manifest the way it did was really cool. That’s something not a lot of people get to be a part of.”

That momentous win came when the trio were just sophomores. Now, as experienced seniors, they are being sent off in a similar fashion.

With one match still to play, Utah State has already clinched its first-ever regular season WAC title, earning the No. 1 seed in next week’s conference tournament. The Aggies have an overall record of 19-8, including a 14-3 league record. Those 14 conference wins are a program-best for Utah State. A win Wednesday would also give the Aggies their 11th 20-win season in school history.

In the preseason polls, Utah State was picked to finish fourth in the conference. The team made it their collective goal from the very beginning and set out to prove the critics wrong.

“It’s been our goal and we knew we could do it,” Sorensen said about being WAC champions. “It’s something the team has wanted for so long.”

To be a part of two WAC titles is something that means a lot to these seniors, and something they knew they could do.

“It just kind of shows how strong we are and how much potential we have. Our team is better than people thought,” Hargrove said. “Don’t ever underestimate us.”

Utah State head coach Grayson DuBose is proud of his team and their success, which helped him reach his 100th career win earlier this season, and how they've exceeded their expectations this season.

“Polls are fun, but you never know how they’re going to shake out until you hit the court,” he said. “These girls have meant a lot to our program as far as setting a standard, setting an expectation level that’s pretty high. They took a risk coming here and playing for me at Utah State.”

The success the team has seen this season is the best way the seniors can think of to end their careers. It has resulted in countless memories and experiences that they know will stay with them forever.

“One of my favorite memories has just been this whole year. It’s just been fun,” Sorensen said. “We have a great group of girls and have just been able to mesh together really well.”

It’s not always easy for teammates to get along with each other, combining long hours of practice and strenuous road trips, but the current Aggie squad gets along really well.

“Everything relates back to my teammates. They are so much fun, especially this group of girls. We just get along really well. Every one of them has made an impact on my life in some way or another,” White said. “They’re the sisters I never had. They know so much about me. We talk about school, boys, volleyball, and they know it all. It’s going to be hard to not be as involved in each other’s lives.”

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