LOGAN – Senior Rachel Orr is hoping for big things this volleyball season. In her final year as an Aggie she wants to win the Mountain West Conference and compete in the NCAA tournament. It won’t be easy, though. Utah State will have some tough competition in New Mexico and five-time defending champion Colorado State. The Aggies were picked third in the conference preseason coaches poll, behind those two teams.
“You got to beat Colorado State,” Head Coach Grayson DuBose said. “You got to beat New Mexico. Those are the top big dogs in our conference and have been for a long time so we got to kind of show we can compete with those guys by doing it, not just talking about it, but by doing it.”
If there ever was a year to do it, this year could be it. The Aggies return a lot of experience. Orr is just one of five returning seniors and junior Elle Brainard was selected to the Preseason all-Mountain West Team. According to DuBose, the returning experience has helped create team chemistry.
“The kids get along,” he said. “They like each other. They compete hard every day. They get after it. So that’s a real positive for us.”
“We like to say we’re sisters,” she said. “And I feel like that’s definitely true, because we care about each other on and off the court.”
Another thing Utah State has going for them is Kirby Court at the new Wayne Estes Center. Rather than share the Spectrum with the basketball and gymnastic teams, the volleyball team now has a venue built specifically for them. It is something that DuBose said will give the team “a definite home-court advantage.”
“It’s a wonderful facility,” he said. “It’s great to be a part of. We left the Spectrum and we won 70 percent of our matches. So we’re coming over here and we kind of expect the same thing.”
The Aggies still have some time before they have to worry too much about conference play. The team’s non-conference schedule starts with three matches this weekend at the Utah State Invitational. The first is Friday against Idaho State and the next two are both Saturday – one against Oregon State and the other against Saint Mary’s. All matches will be played at the Wayne Estes Center.
Coach DuBose said he would encourage people the come check out the team this season, saying that it “will be a lot of fun.”
“We’re going to be good,” he said. “We’re fun to watch. We’re exciting. We have the best crowd in the country. We have now one of the best volleyball venues in the country.”