Utah State has not been very kind to new members of the Western Athletic Conference on the volleyball court.
The Aggies beat up another newcomer Saturday afternoon to improve to 4-0 against new members of the league. The latest victim was UT Arlington. USU rolled to a 25-14, 25-22, 27-25 victory at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
“We played well,” USU head coach Grayson DuBose said. “I think it was one of our best matches of the season. ... It was a nice road trip for us.”
On Thursday, the Aggies (10-5, 5-1 WAC) won at Louisiana Tech in four sets.
The Mavericks (6-11, 2-3) and Aggies have actually played before, but not since 1990.
“Arlington is a young team, but have been a good home team,” DuBose said. “So, this was a nice win.”
USU jumped on UTA early in the first set. The Aggies built a 18-9 lead on five straight serves by McKell Staheli. Shay Sorensen ended the opening set with one of her 11 kills on the day.
The hosts built a 13-12 lead in the second set, but USU took control with a 5-0 run. Josselyn White sparked the spurt with one of her match-best 17 kills — she hit .429 for the match. White later served up five points for the Aggies, who never trailed again in the set.
“Josselyn (White) had a real nice match,” DuBose said. “I was pleased with the way she played.”
Staheli and Ashlan Rogers also drew praise from the coach. He felt his team did a “great job of passing,” which started with Staheli and Rogers. Rogers had a match-high 15 digs and Staheli had 13 digs.
“We stayed composed and just did a nice job,” DuBose said. “We were also able to put other people in. ... It’s nice to get reps for others.”
The Aggies jumped out to a 16-10 lead in the third set and held a 24-17 advantage. However, the Mavericks rallied to knot up the match. White and Brainard then slammed home kills to end the match.
USU hit .284 for the match and Kaitlyn VanHoff hit a team-best .556. Elle Brainard had five blocks, while Paige Neves dished out a match-best 40 assists.
USU returns home next week, hosting New Mexico State on Thursday.
“They (NMSU Aggies) will probably be undefeated in league,” DuBose said. “This is going to be big for us.”