USU volleyball: returners and newcomers prepare for playing time this weekend
USU does return junior outside hitter Rachel Orr, and sophomore Elle Brainard is shifting over from middle blocker to opposite side hitter. Orr earned first-team all-WAC honors after ranking ninth in the league in kills (2.96), logging a .224 attack percentage (326-141-825). Orr registered a .300 attack percentage or better in nine matches, led by a career-high .600 (12-0-20) against Texas State on Nov. 14. She pounded double-digit kills in 19 total matches, including a streak of seven in a row and 11 of the last 14 matches of the season. Orr logged 15 or more kills in six matches, highlighted by a career-high 18 at UTSA on Sept. 13, adding 17 twice. Last season at middle blocker, Brainard was named the WAC Freshman of the Year, while also earning second-team all-WAC honors, as well as being named to the all-Freshman team. She ranked third in the WAC and 20th in the NCAA in blocking (1.41 bps), while also ranking ninth in the conference with a .291 (188-67-416) hitting percentage. Brainard added 1.69 kills per set. She averaged her 1.41 blocks per set on 157 total blocks with seven solo and 150 block assists. The 150 blocks assists is No. 3 on USU’s single-season block assists list, while the 157 total blocks is No. 3 on the Aggies’ total blocks list and the .291 attack percentage is No. 10 in USU history. Brainard had five or more total blocks in 18 matches, highlighted by a season-high nine twice.
Senior Tumua Etimani is poised for a noteworthy senior season, while freshmen Maddie Day, Kayla DeCoursey and Kaylie Kamalu will provide talent and depth to the outside hitter and opposite side hitter corps.
For the second year in a row, the Aggies have their starting libero returning in junior Ashlan Rogers-Court. Last season, Rogers-Court ranked sixth in the WAC in digs with 3.72, posting 413 total digs, good for No. 6 on USU’s single-season digs list. She posted double-digit digs in 24 of the 30 matches including 17 of last 22 matches of the season, featuring a streak of nine-straight matches, highlighted by season-high and tying career-high 27 digs at UTSA on Sept. 13. Rogers-Court also ranked seventh in the WAC in service aces with 0.25 per set, leading the team with 28 aces, tying her career-high of three service aces in three matches last season.
Freshman Hannah Gleason adds to the mix as a defensive specialist and libero-in-waiting.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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