Utah State volleyball outlasts Utah Valley in gritty 3-2 battle – Cache Valley Daily

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State volleyball extended its home winning streak to 13 in front of a sold-out crowd inside the Wayne Estes Center on Tuesday night.

USU (7-2) outlasted in-state foe Utah Valley (5-4) in a gritty five-set battle as the Aggies came away with the 3-2 victory.

“It was awesome,” head coach Rob Neilson said. “That’s the loudest the Estes has ever been. The crowd was amazing. This was the first taste of Club Estes. We loved having our fans out. We gave them a barn burner. That was just an absolutely gritty win by our team. They battled. Utah Valley gave us everything that we could handle. That’s a really good team right there. We just battled.”

UVU took an early 7-1 lead in set one, but USU refused to go down without a fight. The Aggies slowly chipped away at the Wolverines’ lead until a 5-0 Utah State run trimmed the margin to 14-13. The spurt featured back-to-back kills from junior outside hitter Tatum Stall, a service ace from redshirt sophomore libero Jordi Holdaway and a block from redshirt freshman middle blocker Bella Wooden and senior opposite side hitter Kylee Stokes.

Utah State continued to chip away at the Utah Valley lead until a kill from senior outside hitter Shelby Capllonch tied it at 18-apiece. Back-to-back Capllonch kills a few points later gave the Aggies their first lead of the night 22-21. The teams went back-and-forth until a UVU service error and kill from graduate opposite side hitter Emilee Turner gave USU the 26-24 set one victory.

The Aggies and Wolverines stayed close in the second until Utah Valley closed out the set with an 8-1 run to win it 25-15. Utah State led 12-11 in set three, but UVU outscored USU in the final stretch 14-4 for the 25-16 win and 2-1 lead.

Utah State took a 10-7 lead in set four following a Stokes kill, and the Aggies later extended their lead to 14-10 after an ace from sophomore setter Beatriz Rodrigues. After UVU tied it up, a 5-0 USU run, capped by a block from Stokes and senior middle blocker Kennedi Boyd, gave Utah State the 21-16 advantage.

The teams traded points until the Aggies closed out the set with a 3-0 run with junior defensive specialist Abby Peterson serving the set-clinching ace for the 25-18 win.

A Stall kill and pair of Utah Valley errors gave Utah State the early 3-0 edge in the final set. The teams would tie three times before a 3-0 Aggie run gave USU the 9-6 advantage. USU maintained the lead as back-to-back Peterson aces put Utah State on top 13-9 and a UVU service error would later put the Aggies at set point 14-10.

Utah Valley, however, was not quite ready to make its trip back to Orem. The Wolverines scored five-straight points to reach their own set-point 15-14, but Stall put an end to the run with a cross-court kill. UVU reached set point once more, but back-to-back Capllonch kills put USU back on top 17-16. A big-time block from Boyd and Turner put the match to bed as the Aggies won the fifth 18-16.

“It was amazing just being able to be out there and play with everyone,” Capllonch said. “We went through a lot of waves in that match, but we came back and brought it to them.”

Overall, USU hit .190 (66-33-174), while UVU hit .277 (59-18-148). Stall and Capllonch each finished the night with double-doubles as Stall led the Aggies with 15 kills and a match-high-tying 14 digs, while Capllonch posted 14 kills and 10 digs. Turner and Boyd also recorded double-digit kills with 13 and 12, respectively.

Freshman setter Leah Wilton-LaBoy was the final member of the double-double club, posting 25 assists and 10 digs. The Aggies were led by Rodrigues with 29 assists, Holdaway with a match-high-tying 14 digs and Boyd with five blocks.

Utah State next takes on Utah (6-3) on Friday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m., in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Fans can follow the Aggie volleyball program on Twitter, @USUVolleyball, on Facebook at /USUVolleyball or on Instagram, @usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter, @USUAthletics, Facebook at /USUAthletics and on Instagram, @USUAthletics.

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