Utah State volleyball rallies to defeat San Diego State in five sets

SAN DIEGO STATE, California — Utah State volleyball faced down a 2-1 deficit and two San Diego State match points, rallying to win 3-2 over the Aztecs and extend their winning streak to six games on Saturday night. The six-game streak matches USU’s longest since winning nine in a row in 2010.

The Aggies took control late in the first set, winning seven of nine points to take a 24-17 lead. A kill from sophomore Tatum Stall punctuated the set for the Aggies, 25-21.

The Aztecs responded, turning a 9-9 tie in the second set into a 22-13 lead. The Aggies rallied to within six points but were unable to fully claw their way back, losing the second set, 25-18. The third set followed a similar path as the second with San Diego State breaking an 8-8 tie and taking a 22-14 lead en route to the 25-16 win to go up 2-1 in the contest.

With their backs to the wall, the Aggies jumped out to a 9-3 lead in the fourth set. The Aztecs battled back to an 11-8 deficit before USU took control with a 5-1 run. The two sides traded points until junior Kylee Stokes smashed home a set from junior Kalena Vaivai to give the Aggies the 25-21 victory and force a decisive fifth set.

In a tightly contested fifth set, neither team built a lead larger than two points. San Diego State went on a 3-0 run late in the set to take a 14-12 lead. Utah State thwarted two consecutive match points for SDSU and took a 15-14 lead off a kill by Stall set by Rodriguez. After an SDSU kill, two consecutive Aztec errors handed the Aggies a 17-15 win in the fifth set and a 3-2 win overall.

The Aggies hit only .158 for the match, their third-lowest mark this season and lowest in a victory. Senior Corinne Larsen led the Aggie attack with a .368 hitting percentage on nine kills, also adding seven blocks on the night. Stall tallied a team-high 10 kills while senior Kristy Frank paced USU with 11 digs. Sophomore libero Abby Peterson chipped in with 10 digs. Vaivai and Rodriguez led the playmaking for USU with 22 and 14 assists, respectively.

The win moves the Aggies to 9-2 in conference play where they remain in sole possession of second place. Utah State’s 17 victories are the most wins for the Aggies in a season since reaching the 20-win plateau in 2013.

The Aggies will look to continue their impressive run on Saturday as they take on UNLV in Las Vegas. The match is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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

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