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College volleyball: Utah State to host USU Invitational this weekend

Utah State volleyball opens its home slate this weekend when the Aggies host the USU Invitational. Pacific, Montana State and UC Santa Barbara will join Utah State at the tournament.

The Aggies open the week facing Pacific on Friday at 7 p.m. The match will mark the first time the teams have met since the 2013 season, a 3-2 victory for Utah State during a tournament in Portland, Oregon. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 29-7, with most of the matches coming when the teams faced one another as members of the Big West Conference from 1990-2004.

Pacific is 1-2 this season, opening the year at a tournament hosted by Oregon State and picking up a 3-0 victory over Idaho. The Tigers are led offensively by sophomore outside Skylar Wine with 41 kills this season, hitting .397 (41-12-73) and averaging 3.73 per set. Freshman setter Hanne De Schrijver directs the attack with 134 assists with the team hitting .266 (168-62-399) on the year. Senior libero Katrin Gotterba leads the Pacific back row with 48 digs, and senior middle Janie Feldsher leads the Tiger block with 11 on the year.

Utah State faces Montana State on Saturday at noon, leading the Bobcats, 9-3, in the all-time series. The two teams played last season at the Denver-hosted Pioneer Invitational, with the Aggies taking a 3-0 victory. During the match, USU senior outside Lauren Anderson led the Aggies with 17 kills as the Aggies hit .308 (43-11-104).

MSU is 1-2 on the year, hosting the Bobcat Classic last weekend and securing a 3-2 win over Gonzaga in the tournament finale. Junior outside Natalie Passeck leads the Bobcat offense with 39 kills on the year, averaging 3.00 per set and hitting .222 (39-17-99). Sophomore setter Sydney Mathison directs the attack, totaling 116 assists on the year as Montana State has hit .156 (144-80-409). Sophomore libero Allyssa Rizzo leads the MSU back row with 36 digs, averaging 2.77 per set, and freshman middle Kelsie White leads the Bobcat block with 14, averaging 1.08 per set.

Utah State wraps up the tournament on Saturday, facing UC Santa Barbara in the finale at 7 p.m. The Gauchos lead the all-time series, 34-5, and are the second former Big West foe the Aggies will face. The two teams last met during the 2008 season, a match that UCSB took 3-0 in San Francisco, California.

UC Santa Barbara has yet to win a match this season, opening 0-3 with losses to Illinois State, No. 15 Florida State and Baylor in Waco, Texas, last weekend. The Gauchos are paced offensively by their outside hitters in sophomores Lindsey Ruddins and Chole Allen with 44 and 40 kills, respectively. Junior setter Lexi Rottman directs the attack with a team-best 87 assists as the team has hit .101 (130-84-457) on the year. Junior libero Emilia Petrachi leads the UCSB back row with 54 digs, and sophomore middle Rowan Ennis leads the block with 10, averaging 1.00 per set.

Other matches during the tournament include UC Santa Barbara against Montana State on Friday at 4 p.m., Pacific against UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at 10 a.m., and Pacific against Montana State on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Kyle Cottam is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Utah State University.