Our Editor's Picks Subscribe

Get constantly updated sports news delivered to you.



Despite losing four proven seniors who led Utah State to its fourth NCAA Tournament in school history with a 24-9 record and its first-ever Western Athletic Conference postseason tournament championship in 2010, Aggie coaches and players alike are both anxious and optimistic that enough experience and talent remain for yet another 20-win season and postseason berth.


The main reason for that continued optimism surrounding Aggie volleyball this fall is the return of one of the most decorated players in USU history in senior outside hitter Liz McArthur, who became just the 11th player in school history to earn All-American honors as she was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) honorable mention team as a junior after finishing the year ranking 32nd nationally in points per set (4.59) and 34th in kills per set (4.00).


As a junior, McArthur was named to the WACs first team and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2010 WAC Tournament after leading USU to its first-ever tournament championship with wins against Nevada (3-1), New Mexico State (3-2) and No. 3 Hawaii (3-0).  McArthur was also named the MVP of two preseason tournaments in 2010, was named the WACs Player of the Week twice and was even named the Collegiate Volleyball Update National Player of the Week after being named the Most Valuable Player of the Utah Classic.



In addition to McArthur, Utah State returns two more proven starters along the antennas in junior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen and junior outside hitter Josselyn White.  Like McArthur, Sorensen was also named the MVP of a preseason tournament in 2010 and finished the year being named to the WACs all-tournament team after a career-match against the Rainbow Wahine as she hit a career-high .684 with 13 kills on 19 swings with no errors.  Whites best match of the season came against NMSU in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament as she notched a career-high 16 kills.


As sophomores, Sorensen hit .221 (244-105-628) and averaged 2.20 kills and 0.81 blocks, while White hit .177 (294-119-991) and averaged 2.41 kills, 1.87 digs and 0.94 blocks per set.


We feel comfortable building around Liz, Josselyn and Shay with the amount of experience they bring to the table, said sixth year head coach Grayson DuBose.  We also return some other key components with good experience and our returning sophomores and redshirts will continue to mature in our program as we strive to always get better.

Two players striving for more playing time in their junior seasons are a pair of two-year letterwinners in the program with plenty of experience in libero Laurel Bodily and setter Kassi Hargrove.  Bodily has appeared in 62 matches and 241 sets in her first two years at USU and averaged 2.28 digs per set as a sophomore.  Hargrove has played in 44 matches and 139 sets during her career and has posted 48 assists and 46 digs.

Another player who saw action in 2010 is sophomore outside hitter Tumua Etimani who had six kills, 10 digs and four block assists appearing in six matches and 10 sets.  USU also returns three redshirts this fall in sophomore middle blocker Nicole Gneiting, freshman opposite side hitter Jamaica Alisa and freshman setter Paige Neves.

Joining Utah States core group of returners will be eight newcomers to the program including six freshmen that led to USU having one of the top 55 recruiting classes in the nation according to PrepVolleyball.com.  Highlighting this group of newcomers is junior middle blocker Alyssa Everett, freshmen middle blockers Shan England and Kaityln VanHoff, and freshmen outside hitters Elle Brainard, Rachel Orr and Alexis Walker.  USUs two other newcomers are a pair of backrow players in sophomore Kassie Mendenhall and freshman Ashlan Rogers.

Our goal is to always be competitive and to always compete for WAC Championships.  With the scoring system the way it is now, its built around outside hitters and we return a lot of outside hitters and I think that will help us, added DuBose.

 Once again, Utah States schedule will be very challenging as it plays 28 matches, including four against in-state opponents and four more against NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.



We are looking forward to a challenging schedule, said DuBose.  We are playing teams from the Big West Conference, the Pac-12, and the Big East, as well as the West Coast Conference, and this schedule will prepare us for the teams in our league, that have always been tough competitors.  We are fortunate again to be hosting a tournament and I would like to thank Gossners and Locker 42 for helping us run this wonderful event.



function hov(s) { var obj = document.getElementById('login_link'); if ( obj ) { if ( s ) { obj.style.display = 'block'; } else { obj.style.display = 'none'; } } }

Add Your Coments