USU volleyball: Utah State announces 2014 schedule

By Zach Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 21 2014 3:44 p.m. MDT

Utah State volleyball head coach Grayson DuBose announced the Aggies' 2014 schedule Wednesday. USU will play a 29-match regular season schedule in the Aggies' second season in the Mountain West Conference. Of the 29 matches, two are against in-state foes, and there are four 2013 NCAA Tournament teams, as well as two teams ranked in the final 2013 American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll.

The Aggies will play 13 home matches in the recently opened Kirby Court at Wayne Estes Center, a 1,400-seat venue. USU posted a 114-47 (.709) record over the last 15 seasons at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies will play 12 matches as the visiting team and four on neutral courts, as part of two tournaments away from home. After a year hiatus, USU will host the Utah State Tournament. The Aggies' home tournament will be their season opening action on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 29-30. USU will welcome border-foe Idaho State, along with Oregon State and Saint Mary's.

"We are ecstatic that we get to open up the new Kirby Court at Wayne Estes Center by hosting a tournament at home again," DuBose said. "The folks at Gossner are such terrific supporters of not just Utah State volleyball, but all of the USU Athletics, and we're excited that we get to show off our new venue in the opening weekend of the season. We hope that our fans, in particular The HURD, will help us create a raucous environment to provide a true home court advantage."

USU will face NCAA Tournament teams Idaho State, Hawai'i and Utah in non-conference action, as well as defending MW Champion Colorado State in home-and-home action as part of the Aggies' 18 match MW ledger. Colorado State is one of two teams on USU's 2014 schedule that was ranked in the final 2013 AVCA Top 25 Poll, ranking in at No. 21. The Aggies will also face Hawai'i, which was No. 18 in the final poll.

"Our schedule this season will be very challenging, and our non-conference schedule won't be a pushover," DuBose said. 'We'll face three NCAA Tournament teams as part of our 11 non-conference matches, which will prepare us for the trials of the Mountain West schedule."

Following the season opening USU Tournament, the Aggies will open September in Irvine, California, at the UC Irvine Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 5-6, taking on Pepperdine, Idaho and UC Irvine. Utah State and Idaho were former conference foes, most recently in the Western Athletic Conference, while USU and UC Irvine were in the Big West Conference together.

"The UC Irvine Tournament will be a good test for us, facing quality teams in Pepperdine, Idaho and UC Irvine," DuBose said.

In its third and final tournament of the non-conference portion of its schedule, USU will then face another former WAC opponent, Hawai'i, at the Hawai'i Tournament on Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 11-13, in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The Aggies will also face San Francisco and UCLA.

"The Hawai'i Tournament will be a fun business trip for our team," DuBose said. "It will be fun to have some time to hang out there, but we will be there for volleyball. We face three difficult, challenging opponents in Hawai'i, San Francisco and UCLA, who are all three traditional powers of volleyball in the west."

USU returns home for a three-match home stand, hosting in-state foe Utah on Wednesday, Sept. 17, before kicking off its second season of Mountain West play against defending league champion Colorado State on Thursday, Sept. 25, and then Wyoming on Saturday, Sept. 27.

"Facing Utah and Colorado State will be perhaps our most testing back-to-back matches. We will look to be hitting on all cylinders by that part of the season, and those will be two exciting matches for our fans to cheer us on," DuBose said.

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