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Women's volleyball: Utah State playing its best at right time

Published October 30, 2012 11:12 am

University beat • Aggies are winning both on the road and in the conference.
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Utah State women's volleyball coach Grayson DuBose admits to being "perpetually dissatisfied."

It's coach speak.

Despite a few questionable losses, DuBose has his Aggies at the top of the Western Athletic Conference standings with four matches to play, including a Thursday date at Denver and Saturday at second-place New Mexico State.

USU (17-7, 12-2 WAC), which has already set a school record for conference victories, has also won six consecutive road matches for the first time since 1978.

Overall, the Aggies have won seven of their last eight WAC home matches, and nine of their last 11 overall matches.

"We feel pretty good about our team," DuBose said. "I like how we're playing right now."

Utah State is built not on one or two stars, but a handful of talented seniors with contributing underclassmen. For example, when senior outside hitter Josselyn White became ill and left during the fourth game of a match against Denver earlier this season, freshman Candace Richins came off the bench with seven kills and a .417 hitting percentage as USU won in five games.

White, who recently set a school record with a .812 attack percentage, and fellow senior Shay Sorensen create a formidable front line with sophomores Rachel Orr, Elle Brainard and Kaitlyn VanHoff.

Sophomore Paige Neves is one of the conference's top setters.

"We are really able to mix it up," DuBose said of his deep team. "Last year, when we looked back, we asked, 'How can we improve and how can we be good on the road?' Maturity, for one thing. We had a bunch of freshmen last year. Now they're experienced sophomores."

However, those few bumps, such as home losses to Idaho and Utah Valley, have placed the Aggies on the NCAA Tournament bubble. USU will most likely have to win the WAC Tournament, which starts Nov. 19, to play any postseason volleyball.

"Right now, our RPI is not where it needs to be to warrant an at-large bid," said DuBose, adding, "When we're in system, we're as good as anybody, not just in our league but a bunch of leagues."

SLCC prepares for region tournament

The No. 5-ranked SLCC Bruins (22-6, 7-3 SWAC) travel to Twin Falls, Idaho, for the Region 18 Volleyball Championships on Friday and Saturday. The second-seeded Bruins begin play in the single-elimination tournament at 4 p.m. against the winner of North Idaho and Colorado Northwestern.

Host Southern Idaho is the No. 1 seed. The two teams that advance to the regional championship will also earn berths in the NJCAA National Tournament at Missouri State-West Plains.


Twitter: @tribmarty




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