LAS VEGAS — Utah State's women's volleyball team will begin competition in the 2011 Western Athletic Conference Tournament against Fresno State on Monday at 8:30 p.m. USU is the fourth seed in the tournament, while Fresno State is the fifth seed.
Utah State enters the 2011 WAC Tournament as the defending tournament champion after beating Nevada (3-1), New Mexico State (3-2) and then No. 3 Hawaii (3-0) to claim its first ever WAC Championship last year.
With its win over UH, Utah State became just the third team in the history of the WAC to win the tournament championship as Hawaii had won the previous 10 tournament titles and BYU won the first two. The Rainbow Wahine entered the championship match against USU last year having won 31 straight WAC Tournament matches.
Utah State is 5-4 all-time in the WAC Tournament.
Utah State is 12-16 on the season and finished tied with Fresno State for fourth place in the WAC with a 7-7 league mark following a four-set win at Nevada and a five-set loss at Fresno State last weekend.
The Aggies are led by senior all-american outside hitter Liz McArthur, who is hitting .167 and averaging 3.76 kills, 2.35 digs, 0.45 blocks and 0.21 service aces per set.
Junior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen is hitting .203 and averaging 2.60 kills, 0.85 blocks and 0.72 digs per set, and freshman setter Paige Neves is hitting .212 and averaging 8.90 assists, 2.50 digs, 0.73 blocks and 0.55 kills per set.
As a team, Utah State is hitting .170 on the year as compared to a .172 hitting percentage for its opponents.
Fresno State is 13-14 on the season and finished tied with Utah State for fourth place in the WAC with a 7-7 mark following a home loss to Idaho (3-1) and a home win against Utah State (3-2) last weekend.
The Bulldogs, who are 1-3 on neutral courts this year, are led by senior middle blocker Brianna Clarke, who is hitting .329 and averaging 2.41kills and 0.92 blocks per set.
As a team, Fresno State is hitting .192 on the season as compared to a .216 hitting percentage for its opponents. The Bulldogs return three starters and five letterwinners from last year's team that went 13-15 and finished in a tie for sixth place in the WAC with a 7-9 league mark.
Coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell is 48-65 in four years at Fresno State and 91-84 in six years as a collegiate head coach.
Utah State is 12-8 all-time against Fresno State, which includes a 1-0 record at neutral sites. The two teams split their season series this year as USU won in Logan in four sets and Fresno won in Fresno in five sets. Since joining the WAC, USU is 10-5 against the Bulldogs.
Utah State is 1-3 on neutral courts this year and 13-6 on neutral courts over the last three years. Under current head coach Grayson DuBose, USU is 21-27 (.438) when playing on neutral courts.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University.