Aggie volleyball breaks out of slump with 3-1 win over Nevada

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State women’s volleyball posted a 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20) victory over Nevada on Thursday night, grabbing a win over the Wolf Pack for the eighth time in nine matches and snapping a seven-match losing streak on the year. The result moves the Aggies to 6-22 overall and 2-12 in the Mountain West, while Nevada dropped to 11-16 and 6-9 with the defeat.

USU progressively hit the ball better as the match wore on, hitting .125 (12-7-40) in the first set, .244 (17-6-45) in the second, .375 (14-2-32) in the third and .406 (16-3-32) in the fourth to finish the night hitting .275 (59-18-149) for the match. Sophomore outside Rachel Gale led the way for the Aggies, hitting a career-high .368 with a match-high 24 kills on 57 attempts with only three errors. Junior outside Kaylie Kamalu also recorded double-digit kills, finishing the match with 16 while hitting .286 (16-6-35).

“Our offense was clicking tonight,” head coach Grayson DuBose said after the match. “We hit .275 and should win with that number and got better and better as the match wore on. The thing I like the most was our lack of errors.”

Utah State also had a strong effort from its back line as junior libero Hannah Gleason led both teams with 23 digs, her seventh match this season with 20 or more. The 23 digs also increased her total to 434 on the year and moved her into sixth all-time in digs in a single season in school history. Sophomore Maddie Day also recorded double-digit digs, logging a career-high 12.

“I thought our defense played well,” DuBose said. “They are getting better and playing scrappier. HG (Hannah Gleason) has really expanded her range and Maddie (Day) is back there throwing her body around.”

The Aggies got off to a rocky start in the match, committing four attacking errors over the opening rallies and falling behind by four when Nevada took a 12-8 lead. Utah State battled back with a 6-2 run, taking the lead at 14-13, but the Wolf Pack captured the next point to square the frame at 14-14. The Aggies made another push, scoring three straight and opened the run with a kill by Kamalu and finished it due to back-to-back errors by Nevada. USU never looked back and wrapped up the set, 25-21, behind a kill by sophomore right side Kayla DeCoursey.

Utah State had to come from behind again in the second set, overcoming a 14-12 deficit with a five-point run to take the lead at 17-14. Sophomore middle Carly Lenzen started the run with a kill and Gale recorded three more kills during the surge to give the Aggies the lead. Nevada didn’t go away and came back to tie the set three times down the stretch, including a 23-23 deadlock. However, Utah State was able to secure back-to-back points behind a Kamalu kill and a Nevada error to take the set, 25-23, and went into the break with a 2-0 lead.

The Aggies came out strong in the third set, scoring the first three points, but fell behind Nevada 9-5 as the Wolf Pack put together a 6-0 run to take the lead. Utah State played from behind, once again, but derailed its momentum with service errors late in the frame and siding out three consecutive times down the stretch. The Aggies were able to fight off a set point by the Wolf Pack at 24-19, but ultimately fell, 25-20.

Utah State led start-to-finish in the fourth set, scoring the first two points of the frame and building a lead of 11-5 at the conclusion of a six-point run. Nevada came back to within two points late in the stanza at 21-19, but the Aggies were able to close it out with a 4-1 run, recording three of the final four points behind kills by Kamalu to wrap up the match, 25-20.

Junior setter Erica Moscoso had a career night distributing the ball, collecting a career-high 51 assists. Freshman middle Lauren O’Brien paced the Aggie block with five.

Nevada was led by pair of double-digit attackers in junior right side Madison Morell with 24 kills and sophomore outside Madison Foley with 12. Morell also recorded a double-double with a team-high 16 digs. Overall, Nevada hit .208 (58-25-159) on the night and bested the Aggies behind the service line with five aces to Utah State’s two.

Utah State will return to Kirby Court at the Wayne Estes Center on Saturday, facing San Diego State at 7 p.m.

Fans can purchase tickets for the 2015 season by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.

Fans can follow the Aggie volleyball program on Twitter @USUVolleyball, on Facebook at USUVolleyball or on Instagram at @usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.

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