USU volleyball: Aggies playing in Portland this weekend at UP Nike Invitational
LOGAN - Utah State volleyball will play in its second tournament in as many weekends as it heads to Portland, Ore., to play in the University of Portland Nike Invitational on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7. The Aggies' first match of the weekend is against Wichita State on Friday, Sept. 6 at 11:30 a.m. (MT). USU then plays Pacific on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. (MT), before wrapping up Invitational play by taking on co-host Portland on Saturday at 8 p.m. (MT). Utah State matches against Wichita State and Portland are at Portland’s Chiles Center, while Saturday morning’s match against Pacific is at Portland State’s Peter W. Stott Center, as both schools are serving as hosts.
Live stats for the Portland Nike Invitational matches are available via “Live Stats” links on USU's athletics website, and live video for Utah State’s Portland Nike Invitational matches that will be played at Portland will be available via the “Watch Live” link.
USU is 2-1 on the season, its second year in a row starting a season with that record, after dropping its season opener at Utah in five sets on Aug. 30, before bouncing back to knock off Northern Iowa in four sets and fight off Fairfield in five sets on Aug. 31.
With its win over Northern Iowa, USU won its 600th all-time win, and the Aggies are believed to be the 102nd team in NCAA history to reach the 600-win plateau, according to the AVCA. Overall, the Aggies are in their 37th season of collegiate volleyball with an overall record of 601-676-8 (.471) in 1,285 matches.
USU is facing Wichita State for the first time in school history. The Aggies are tangling with the Tigers of Pacific for the first time since 2011, but USU and Pacific were in the Big West Conference together and the Tigers hold a 29-6 all-time series lead in matchups against the Aggies. Saturday is the second year in a row that USU and Portland have played with the Aggies sweeping the Pilots last year in the USU Invite. Utah State is 4-3 all-time against Portland.
The Aggies are led by junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.), who posted a .206 attack percentage (46-19-131) in the three matches last weekend, and was named to the all-Tournament Team, along with fellow junior libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah).
Orr's weekend was highlighted by a .311 attack percentage (19-5-45), and she logged a match-high 19 kills to go with 14 digs for her third-consecutive double-double in the five-set win over Fairfield on Aug. 31. She averaged 3.3 kills and 3.1 digs per set in the Aggies’ three matches. Orr posted 15 kills and a career-high 16 digs on Aug. 30 against Utah, while logging 12 kills and 14 digs in the four-set win over UNI on Saturday morning. Orr also posted a new career-high with two service aces against Fairfield, while also notching a new career-high with three block assists against Utah.
Rogers-Court averaged over 21 digs per match for the weekend, finishing with 64 total for a 4.6 digs per set average. She logged 23 in the Northern Iowa match after notching 22 against Utah. Rogers-Court wrapped up play with 19 in the win over Fairfield. She also served up five aces for the weekend with two each against Utah and UNI, and one in the Fairfield match.
The Shockers of Wichita State were ranked No. 24 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll but dropped out in this week’s poll to rank among others receiving votes. WSU was just in Utah, playing at the Utah Valley Invitational, where the Shockers went 2-1 and none of their three matches went four sets, sweeping North Dakota State in the opening match on Aug. 30. On Aug. 31, WSU returned to the court and got swept by Arizona State before sweeping host Utah Valley in the finale.
The Tigers of Pacific are 3-2 on the young season after going 3-1 in the opening weekend at the Virginia Tech Invitational and like Wichita State, have yet to play a match longer than three sets. Pacific opened action by sweeping Saint Francis on Aug. 30, before getting swept by host VA Tech later that night. On Aug. 31, the Tigers topped Towson in three before upsetting 14th-ranked Michigan State in a sweep. Pacific was swept by second-ranked Stanford on Wednesday night.
The Pilots are 0-3 so far this season, after dropping their three matches at the UNLV Invitational. Portland started the season by falling to Kansas State in five sets on Aug. 30, before getting swept by UNLV and Cal State Fullerton on Aug. 31.
Following this weekend's action, the Aggies play at in-state foe Weber State on Sept. 10. USU then plays at the Duke University Tournament on Sept. 13-14.
The Aggies will officially kick off their home schedule by hosting Boise State on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in USU's Mountain West Conference league 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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