Behind Shay Sorensen's match-high 15 kills, Utah State volleyball swept Texas State (25-23, 25-15, 29-27) Saturday afternoon at Texas State's Strahan Coliseum in Western Athletic Conference action. With the win, USU improves to 2-0 in WAC play for the first time since 1997. Saturday was also the Aggies' final match of a seven-match road swing.
With the win, USU head coach Grayson DuBose now has 99 career wins at the helm of the Aggie program. DuBose has the second-most wins in school history, behind Marilyn McReavy and Mary Jo Peppler who hold the school record with 209 wins as they were co-head coaches from 1976-81.
The Aggies won their third match of the season via the sweep, and it was their second victory in a row to improve to 7-4 overall, while Texas State lost for the second time in three matches, falling to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in WAC action. Saturday was USU's first-ever visit to San Marcos. The Aggies are now 3-1 all-time against the Bobcats, winning the last three meetings including a five-setter last year in the Utah State Invitational.
Saturday's match was offensively dominated by USU, as the Aggies hit a .286 (45-11-119) for the match, including an impressive .433 (13-0-30) in set two. Texas State had a .154 (48-27-136) attack percentage, as the Aggie defense posted 11 total blocks, its second-straight match with double-digit total blocks and seventh this season.
Sorensen, an opposite side hitter (North Ogden, Utah), pounded out her 15 kills on a .353 hitting percentage (15-3-34). She was the only Aggie in double-figures for kills, but senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) and sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) notched nine kills apiece, while redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) added eight kills on a .389 attack percentage (8-1-18).
Brainard added a match-high eight blocks, all assists, while sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) added four block assists. Sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) and White posted three block assists each.
Neves also dished out a match-high 35 assists, while sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) logged 17 digs. Sorensen added 12 for her second-straight double-double and fourth of the season.
Texas State was led by 10 kills apiece from Amari Deardorff and Alexendra Simms, while Molly Ahrens added two blocks. Caleigh McCorquodale posted 15 digs to go with 14 assists, and Caylin Mahoney notched 21 assists.
The Aggies jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the opening set after a service ace from Neves, forcing a Texas State timeout. Later a tandem block by VanHoff and Sorensen gave USU a 21-17 lead, but the Bobcats tied the score at 23-all. However, a kill by Orr preceded a paired block by Brainard and Neves to end the set in the Aggies' favor at 25-23.
Brainard and Orr teamed up for a block to put USU ahead at 6-1 early in the second stanza, and the Aggies later opened up a 20-10 lead after a kill by VanHoff, forcing the Bobcats to take a timeout. When play resumed, USU closed out the set 25-15 after a kill by sophomore outside hitter Tumua Etimani (Richardson, Texas), the lone kill on the only attack for the only Texan on the Aggies' roster.
The Bobcats took a 17-14 lead in the third frame, but the Aggies took advantage of a Texas State attack error followed by a service ace from senior setter Kassi Hargrove (Reno, Nev.) then a kill by White to knot it up at 17-all. The Bobcats later took a 24-23 lead after a kill, and USU took a timeout. After the short break, Sorensen sent the set into bonus volleyball with a kill to tie it at 24-all. USU ended the set with another Texas State attack error followed by a Sorensen kill to end the set and the match in the Aggies' favor for the sweep.
After facing league newcomers UTSA on Thursday and Texas State on Saturday, the Aggies return home to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to host another conference new team, Seattle, on Sept. 20.
Utah State volleyball tickets are available by visiting 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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