Utah State volleyball posted an opening-day sweep on day one of the Lumberjack Classic in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Friday, recording a 3-1 win over Northern Arizona and a 3-0 win over CSU Bakersfield. The results put the Aggies at 6-3 on the year.
“I liked what we did offensively today,” head coach Grayson DuBose said. “Our ball control improved throughout the day and we responded really well when there was some adversity.”
In the first match of the day, senior outside Lauren Anderson recorded her third match this season with 20 or more kills, logging 20 and hitting .400 (20-4-40) in the Aggies’ 3-1 win over Northern Arizona. Senior outside Rachel Gale-Hammond followed with a season-high 14 kills, and senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey was just behind her with 10. Redshirt freshman setter Jaysa Funk directed the attack, recording 46 assists, and she finished with a double-double, her third of the year, adding 16 digs. Overall, Utah State hit .270 (59-21-141) during the match to Northern Arizona’s .190 (47-20-142).
Junior libero Tasia Taylor led all back row players with 24 digs, her fourth performance with 20 or more digs in a match this season. Senior middle Carly Lenzen led the Utah State block with six as the Aggies recorded 11.0 to NAU’s 8.0.
Utah State had a 17-9 lead in the first set against the Lumberjacks, but NAU closed out the set on a 16-6 run, including a 5-1 tilt in the final six points to take the frame, 25-23. The Aggies bounced back in the second set, hitting .457 (18-2-35) and never trailed en route to the 25-18 win.
The third set against the Lumberjacks proved to be the most competitive as the teams fought through 13 ties and five lead changes. Utah State took the frame after breaking the final deadlock at 23-23 with back-to-back points behind a kill by Anderson and a block by Funk and junior middle Lauren O’Brien. USU overcame a 9-6 deficit in the fourth set and used a four-point run to take a 10-9 lead, ending with an Anderson kill, and never trailed again. The teams were tied during the next few rallies, but a 7-1 run by Utah State broke open the score from a 12-12 tie to a 19-13 Aggie advantage. Another Anderson kill gave USU the match, 25-18.
In the second match of the day, Anderson and Funk each recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 13 digs and 36 assists and 10 digs, respectively. Gale-Hammond recorded double-digit kills for the second time in the day as well, tying Anderson with 13. Taylor also continued her nine-match streak with double-digit digs, finishing the contest with a match-high 17.
For the match, Utah State hit .229 (45-18-118) to the Roadrunners’ .131 (37-21-122), as the Aggies recorded their second victory over CSU Bakersfield this year.
Utah State had the lead for most of the first set after opening the frame trailing 3-2. The Aggies’ reversed their fortunes with a three-point run, taking a 5-3 advantage, and led until CSUB came back late to tie the set at 22-22. USU had a set point at 24-22, following a CSUB attacking error, but had to wait for another rally until DeCoursey punctuated the set for the Aggies, 25-23, with one of her nine kills during the match.
Utah State had to play from behind most of the second set but took a 23-20 lead of its own after finishing a 5-0 run with back-to-back kills from Gale-Hammond. A final kill by Lenzen gave the Aggies the set, 25-22. USU used a five-point run in the third set to overcome a 6-5 CSUB lead and take a 10-6 lead of its own and never trailed again. Utah State scored three straight to end the set, 25-18, behind a DeCoursey kill, Lenzen and Gale-Hammond block and another CSUB attacking error.
Freshman middle Bailey Downing made her first collegiate start during the match, hitting .250 with four kills on eight attempts and two errors. Downing finished second on the team in blocks, recording a season-high five, behind Lenzen’s team-high seven.
Utah State returns to the court Saturday, facing Arizona State at 11 a.m. MT, and then takes to the road next week with matchups at Weber State in Ogden on Tuesday, Sept. 12, and at Southern Utah in Cedar City on Friday, Sept. 15.
Kyle Cottam is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Utah State University.