Match Notes – Utah State Volleyball Travels to Provo for BYU Invitational No. 2
BACK IN ACTION
Utah State volleyball (2-0) enters its second week of competition as USU travels to Provo, Utah, for the BYU Invitational No. 2. The Aggies open the tournament facing No. 7 BYU (3-0) on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 pm Utah State then faces No. 10 Pittsburgh (2-1) on Friday, Sept. 2, at 5 pm, before wrapping up the week by taking on Cincinnati (1-2) on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 4 pm
Both of this week’s matches will be streamed live and for free via BYUtv. Live stats will also be provided for both contests via StatBroadcast. Links to all options will be posted on the team’s social media pages and listed on the Utah State Athletics website.
AGGIES VS. COUGARS
Utah State and BYU will meet for the first time in 11 years as the Cougars lead the all-time series 41-16. However, Utah State has won seven of the last 13 matches, including a 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 19-25, 18-16) victory in the teams’ last meeting in Provo on Sept 14, 2010.
AGGIES VS. PANTHERS
Utah State swept Pittsburgh 3-0 (15-11, 15-12, 15-1) in the teams’ only meeting on Sept. 15, 2000, at the Wyoming Tournament in Laramie.
AGGIES VS. BEARCATS
Utah State defeated Cincinnati 3-2 (32-30, 23-30, 30-21, 25-30, 15-11) in the teams’ lone meeting on Sept. 7, 2001. That match was also played at a neutral site at the Hawai’i Tournament in Honolulu.
Utah State upset then-No. 12 UCLA 3-1 (27-25, 29-27, 22-25, 25-19) at its season-opening Utah State Invitational on Aug. 26. The victory over the Bruins marked the Aggies’ first win over a ranked opponent since Utah State’s 3-0 victory over No. 3 Hawai’i to win the WAC Tournament Championship on Nov. 24, 2010.
Overall, Utah State hit .184 (57-30-147) on the match, while holding UCLA to a .076 (46-35-145) mark. Three Aggies finished with double-digit kills as a senior opposite side hitter Kylee Stokes had a match-high 14, junior outside hitter Tatum stable had 11 and senior middle blocker Kennedy Boyd had 10 boyd led USU with a career-high tying eight blocks, including a career-best three solo.
Two Aggies recorded double-doubles as barn finished with 11 digs, while freshman setter Leah Wilton-LaBoy posted 25 assists and 10 digs. Red shirt sophomore libero Jordy Holdaway led Utah State with a match-high 13 digs.
AGGIES IN THE POLL
Utah State received votes in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Coaches Poll announced on Monday, Aug. 29. The Aggies gleaned 20 votes to rank 33rd in the nation. Utah State, the only program in the Mountain West to receive votes, opened its 2022 season 2-0 as USU defeated then-No. 12 UCLA 3-1 and Cal Poly 3-1 at the Utah State Invitational. The victory over the Bruins marked the Aggies’ first win over a ranked opponent since Utah State’s 3-0 victory over No. 3 Hawai’i to win the WAC Tournament Championship on Nov. 24, 2010.
COLLECTING THE AWARDS
Utah State volleyball had two student-athletes earn Mountain West weekly awards after their respective performances in the 3-1 defeat of both then-No. 12 UCLA and Cal Poly. Senior opposite side hitter Kylee Stokes was named the Offensive Player of the Week, as well as the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week, after leading the Aggies offensively with 29 combined kills, averaging 3.63 per set, including the match-clinching kill against the Bruins. setter Leah Wilton-LaBoy also earned weekly honors as she was named the MW Freshman of the week after leading the Aggies with a combined 48 assists, averaging 6.00 per set, and was third on the team with 20 digs, averaging 2.50 per set. She averaged a double-double of 24.0 assists and 10.0 digs per match.
THIS IS OUR HOUSE
Utah State volleyball has won 12-straight matches at home and is 16-1 in the 17 matches played at Logan.
PUTTING INTO THE WORK
Utah State will face six 2021 NCAA Tournament teams, including four that finished the campaign ranked in the top 25, in its 2022 campaign. Non-conference foes Pitt, BYU, UCLA and Utah finished the 2021 campaign ranking fourth, ninth, 13th and 18th, respectively.
Utah State was picked second in the preseason Mountain West poll, receiving three first-place votes. Junior outside hitter Tatum stable was also named to the 2022 preseason all-mountain west team.
With wins over Colorado State and Wyoming to close the 2021 regular season, the Aggies clinched a share of the Mountain West regular season title for the first time in program history. USU has won seven regular season conference titles in program history, including the WAC in 2012 and five consecutive titles in the Intermountain Athletic Conference from 1977 through 1981.
A SEASON FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS
USU finished its 2021 campaign with a 22-9 record, the most wins since 2010. Utah State posted 14 MW wins, the most since 2012, and 12 home victories, the most since 1979.
MOUNTAIN WEST COACH OF THE YEAR
Head coach Rob Neilson was named the 2021 Mountain West Coach of the Year after leading the Aggies to a share of the MW regular season title and the team’s most wins in over a decade.
SHE’S A KILLER QUEEN
Middle blocker Kennedy Boyd tied the program record for single-match hitting percentage with 15-19 attempts after hitting .813 (13-0-6) at Air Force on Oct. 9, 2021.
CAN YOU DIG IT?
Defensive specialist Grace DuBay set the program three-set match record after recording 26 digs at Weber State on Sept. 21, 2019.
Utah State has three international players on its 2022 roster in graduate middle blockers Myrtle Maring (Groningen, Netherlands), junior middle blocker Inca Methola (Raahe, Finland) and sophomore setter Beatrice Rodrigues (Lisbon, Portugal).
WEDDING BELLS WILL BE RINGING
Three Aggie volleyball student-athletes got engaged this offseason. Junior outside hitter Tatum stable became engaged to current USU quarterback Levi Williamsjunior defensive specialist Abby Peterson is engaged to Cooper Ward and sophomore outside hitter Katie Langford is engaged to Preston Swensen.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Freshman setter Leah Wilton-LaBoy is the granddaughter of USU volunteer assistant coach Mike Wilton. Her mother, Melissaplayed volleyball for the Aggies in 2001, while her uncle, travis, was a member of the USU football team. However, Wilton-LaBoy isn’t the only Aggie with family connections to USU. Junior outside hitter Tatum Stall’s brother, clayplayed on the men’s basketball team from 2017-20, redshirt freshman outside hitter Kaylie Ray’s father, Brennanwas on the men’s basketball roster from 1999-2002, graduate opposite side hitter Emilee Turner’s father, Greyplayed men’s basketball for the Aggies in 1986-87 and freshman outside hitter Audrah Radford’s mother, ginaplayed volleyball from 1994-96.
Utah State returns eight letterwinners, including three starters and libero Abby Peterson. Junior outside hitter Tatum stable, who earned all-MW honors in 2021, led the team in total kills (360) and kills per set (2.90), while finishing second on the squad in digs (250) and service aces (36). Senior opposite side hitter Kylee Stokeswho was named to the Mountain West All-Tournament Team, finished second on the 2021 team with 268 kills and 92 blocks.
Peterson returns for her third season with the Aggies after leading the squad with 392 digs as a sophomore, finishing 2021 ranked sixth in the conference with 3.32 digs per set. Senior middle blocker Kennedy Boyd appeared and started in 20 matches in 2021 before missing the remainder of the season due to injury, finishing with 168 kills and 76.0 total blocks. Sophomore setter Beatrice Rodrigues led USU and ranked 10th in the MW with 5.41 assists per set in 2021, totaling 509 assists on the year.
USU returns seven more players from the 2021 squad, including senior defensive specialist Grace DuBayjunior middle blocker Inca Metholathree sophomores in outside hitters Adna Mehmedovicopposite side hitter Katie Langford and setter Kalia Thunstromand outside hitter Kaylie Ray and middle blocker Bella Woodenboth redshirt freshmen.
WELCOME TO THE SQUAD
Utah State welcomes seven newcomers to the 2022 squad, including graduate middle blockers Myrtle Maringan FIU transfer, graduate opposite side hitter Emile Turnera Seton Hall transfer, senior outside hitter Shelby Caplloncha UNLV transfer, redshirt sophomore defensive specialist Jordy Holdawaya Boise State transfer, and outside hitter Audra Radfordoutside hitter Kylie Tengberg and setter Leah Wilton-LaBoy, all freshmen. Utah State also added assistant coach Mike Brunsting to the staff in May of 2022.