USU volleyball: Utah State falls to Utah in five sets in first match of season
Just like the opening frame, the Utes jumped out to a big lead, opening up an 11-1 advantage, before the Aggies scored eight-straight points to cut the lead to 11-9. VanHoff started the spurt with a kill then went back behind the service line and served, which spearheaded the comeback. Orr capped the streak with consecutive kills sandwiched around a Utah timeout. USU's rally continued, and the Aggies later took their first lead of the match at 18-17 after an Orr kill. With the score tied at 20-20, Utah State scored the next three points, the last on a tandem block by Everett and Neves. The duo later teamed up again for the Aggies 25th point of the set, winning the frame at 25-21 and going to the break at one set apiece.
The Aggies continued to show their fight in the third set, but Utah slowly pulled away. However, USU kept Utah close, trailing 14-10, then getting a kill by Brainard, an ace by Rogers-Court and a Utah error to cut the score to 14-13. That would be the closest the Aggies would get, as the Utes pulled away for a 25-18 set win.
In the fourth set, Utah State and Utah went back-and-forth, with the Aggies bouncing back from a 10-7 deficit and turning it into a 12-11 lead after a Rogers-Court ace. Orr and Everett joined forces for a block for a 21-17 USU advantage. The Utes trimmed away at the Aggie advantage and cut it to 22-21 after a kill by Chelsey Schofield, but back-to-back Brainard kills and a Utah error gave USU the 25-21 set four win to force the fifth and deciding set.
A block by VanHoff and Etimani followed by a VanHoff kill gave the Aggies a 5-3 lead in the final frame. The Utes bounced back with eight unanswered for an 11-3 lead. At match point at 14-6, USU fought back with a block by Orr and VanHoff, then a kill by Orr pulled the Aggie within 14-8. But a kill by Moea'i sealed the set and the match win for the Utes.
USU has a quick turnaround, as the Aggies return to the court Saturday at 10 a.m. (MT), playing the Panthers of Northern Iowa before wrapping up action by locking horns with the Stags of Fairfield at 5 p.m. Fans can follow Saturday's action with "GameTracker" links on USU's athletic website or through match updates on Twitter.
Following this weekend's action, the Aggies play at the University of Portland Nike Invitational on Sept. 6-7, before playing at in-state foe Weber State on Sept. 10. USU then plays at the Duke University Tournament on Sept. 13-14.
The Aggies officially kick off their home schedule by hosting Boise State on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in USU's MW debut.
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.
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