LOGAN, Utah – Utah State volleyball posted a 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-19) victory over San Diego State on Thursday night, opening its Mountain West slate with a 1-0 record and improving to 9-4 on the year.
“San Diego State is a good team,” head coach Grayson DuBose said after the match. “Game one, we were up, but let things get away from us a little bit and got off task. But the rest of the match, we blocked better, we served better and got those guys in a bit of trouble so their hitters couldn’t get involved as they wanted to.”
The Aggies were led offensively by senior outside Lauren Anderson with a career-high-tying 23 kills, hitting .308 (23-7-52), as USU hit .233 (56-21-250) overall during the match. Senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey joined Anderson in double figures with 13 kills, hitting .345 (13-3-29), marking her sixth match in double figures this season.
“Lauren does what Lauren does,” DuBose said. “She is one of the most consistent kids I’ve coached. She and Kayla (DeCoursey) both. They both hit a high percentage and don’t make a lot of errors. She did a really good job of taking balls and beating it off the block high, scoring through the block and around the block. She really hit with some creativity tonight.”
Anderson was one of four Aggies with double-digit digs, finishing second on the team with 12 and recording her team-best sixth double-double of the year. Junior setter Kassidy Johnson tied Anderson with 12 digs and added 49 assists, one shy of her season high, to mark her second double-double of the season. Johnson returned to the starting lineup after missing the last nine matches. Junior libero Tasia Taylor, the reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week, led Utah State’s back row with 17 digs and senior outside Rachel Gale-Hammond rounded out the diggers with 10.
“I thought Kassidy did well. It’s been a while since we’ve had her out there,” DuBose said of his setter. “She came back and did exactly what we needed her to do: set the ball to the right people at the right time and let them go and hit the ball.”
Utah State jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the first set, but San Diego State countered with an 11-3 run to take a 15-13 advantage, prompting a USU timeout. The Aztecs maintained the lead throughout the frame and closed the set with three straight points, taking the game, 25-21.
Utah State bounced back from a 2-1 deficit in the second set and used a 5-2 run to take a 6-4 lead and never looked back. San Diego State trimmed the margin to one several times during the set, but the Aggies always had an answer and punctuated the set, 25-23, behind a kill by DeCoursey.
Utah State broke a 4-4 tie in the third set with a 4-1 run, taking an 8-5 lead, but saw senior middle Carly Lenzen go down with an injury during the next rally. The Aztecs came back to tie the match at 8-8, but freshman middle Bailey Downing, who had come in for the injured Lenzen, recorded her first kill of the match on the next exchange and sparked a five-point Utah State run. The Aggies used another five-point run to take a 19-11 lead and that margin grew to double digits at 23-13 as USU hit .500 (15-2-26) to SDSU’s .033 (9-8-30) during the frame. A final kill by DeCoursey secured the set for the Aggies, 25-14, and gave the home side the 2-1 lead.
Utah State came back from a 12-9 hole in the final set with a six-point run, taking a 15-12 lead, capped by a service ace by Gale-Hammond. The Aztecs countered to within one, 16-15, but it was as close as the visitors came down the stretch. The Aggies had their first set point, 24-17, but ultimately took the set, 25-19, behind another kill from DeCoursey, much like she had the previous two sets.
The Aztecs were led offensively by sophomore outside Hannah Turnlund with 12 kills. SDSU senior libero Devyn Pritchard led all back-row players with a match-high 20 digs. Overall, San Diego State hit .103 (46-30-155) during the match.
Utah State will be back in action on Saturday, hosting Fresno State at 1 p.m. on Kirby Court at the Wayne Estes Center.
Tickets for the season can be purchased online at utahstateaggies.com, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum ticket office or 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.