Saturday night’s five-set volleyball match between Utah State and UNLV had just about everything you could ask for from mid-season conference rivalry. Big plays, long runs, back-and-fourth sets and a dramatic comeback.
The only thing it lacked was an Aggie victory for the nearly 1,300 fans in attendance at the Wayne Estes Center.
Despite UNLV coming into Logan being ranked second in the conference with a 16-2 overall (5-1 Mountain West) record, Utah State started the match with confidence, taking a 25-23 victory in the first set. However, the momentum quickly shifted when the Rebels dominated the second set, never trailing on the way to a 25-19 victory.
The third set, which included 14 ties and seven lead changes went the Aggies way, however. In a set where neither side led by more than three points the entire time, USU came out victorious with a 26-24 win. However, the 2-1 lead in the match wasn’t enough for the Aggies, as they lost after dropping closely contested fourth and fifth sets 25-20 and 15-13.
“Losing sucks,” said USU head coach Grayson DuBose. “That’s a really nice volleyball team and we had chances. It comes down to the little things. We’ve just got to clean some things up.”
Although the team came away with a loss, there were several bright spots including a career-high 22 kills along with a .372 hitting percentage and three digs by junior outside hitter Lauren Anderson.
Anderson said despite not being able to come away with the win in this one, the team is close to taking the next step.
“We can take it as a positive, that we’re so close, and next round we’re going to get them,” Anderson said. “It is just small errors, something that we can fix.”
Anderson wasn’t the only player with a big performance in the match. Junior middle blocker Carly Lenzen had a career-high hitting percentage of .625, senior setter Erica Moscoso had a career-high 67 assists, and junior defensive specialist Maddie Day-Larsen added on a career-high four service aces.
The Aggies, who are now 8-11 (3-5) on the year, will play the third part of their four-game homestand on Thursday night when they face off against San Diego State at 7:00 p.m. at the Wayne Estes Center.