Volleyball Outlook: Aggies Enter 2014 Season Excited About New Venue
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014
Anytime a head coach can look at his roster and see it laden with seniors, they've got to feel good about their team's chances. When the roster has five seniors, the coach feels even better and when four of those seniors have not just been playing but starting since they were freshmen, the coach can't help but get excited. Adding the fact that Utah State [University] volleyball is moving into a brand new facility for all aspects of everything for the team, the excitement level is off the charts.
So is the case for Utah State volleyball head coach Grayson DuBose, as his 2014 Aggie roster includes five seniors who have exasperated a great deal of blood, sweat and tears for USU volleyball. They have enjoyed a great deal of success together and would love nothing more than to finish their collegiate careers with a conference championship.
“Our goal is to always compete for championships, that’s my job,” DuBose said. “Our team expectations are high because that’s what we’ve always set. We always want to compete at the highest level in our conference.”
Now in its second season in the Mountain West, Utah State will take what it learned in the first year in its new league when the Aggies finished third, and apply that knowledge in trying to dethrone defending champion Colorado State, as well as facing off with the rest of a very difficult conference.
“I think our team learned that top to bottom it's a much better league than we were in before,” DuBose said. “I think they learned how to travel better. You don't know what you don't know. We learned about travel, we didn't know what the conference was like as a team. I don't think our girls understood what it took to compete night-in and night-out and I think they learned that last fall.”
DuBose led Utah State to a 20-11 overall and 13-7 MW record in 2013, as the Aggies posted their second 20-win season in a row and third in the last four years, all under DuBose. After going 21-9 in 2012, Utah State has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2000 and 2001, when USU won 22 matches in 2000 and 20 in 2001. Overall, the Aggies registered their 12th 20-win season in school history in the 38 seasons of USU volleyball.
While the Aggies added to their historic success, they're creating some history of their own by opening up Kirby Court at Wayne Estes Center. The new $9.7 million, 32,000 square-foot volleyball competition venue and basketball practice facility contains a regulation-size volleyball competition court and two regulation-size basketball courts with chair back seating for 400 fans as part of the 1,400 seating capacity, along with an athletic training room and in-season strength and conditioning area. Office space for volleyball and both men and women’'s basketball coaching staffs is also included in the new facility, as well as a locker room and film room for volleyball. Ticketing and concession services are also available on match days. Located inside the foyer of the Wayne Estes Center is a visual tribute of the building’s namesake.
“It's unbelievable,” the Aggie head coach said. “It’s been a fantastic advantage for us. It’s great to be able to have a venue that you can call yours. It creates a nice, intimate home court advantage. The last match we played in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum was kind of bittersweet for me because we’d had a lot of success there. That was a fun thing to be a part of, but it's going to be neat to start a new tradition and have a home court venue that can be ours.”
The new facility not only helps the current team, but will be an immense recruiting tool for future Aggies.
“It’s helped us immensely, just opening the doors,” DuBose said. “Kids come and they know Utah State cares about volleyball. They know that our administration supports what we’re trying to do here. It’s helped from a recruiting aspect, from a community aspect. It’s touched our program in every facet that it can.”
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