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Ready or not, the basketball season is upon the Aggies.

The men’s team will host NAIA Montana Western Wednesday night in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in an exhibition game. Tipoff is slated for 7 o’clock.

It will be the lone exhibition for the Aggies, who begin the regular season on Nov. 9, when UC Davis comes to town. Wednesday night will be the final tuneup for the team, and the first time for fans to see the 2021-22 Aggies in action. The annual Blue-White Scrimmage was canceled last week to help the team get healthier.

First-year head coach Ryan Odom said he is excited for fans to come check out the team Wednesday night.

Montana Western, which is located in Dillon, opened its season last weekend with a pair of 50-plus point wins against Yellowstone Christian College. The Bulldogs (2-0) will count this game Wednesday as an exhibition as well.

Montana Western returns 10 of 12 players from last year’s team that went 7-13 in an abbreviated season because of COVID. All five starters are back, plus the Bulldogs were able to sign one of the best guards in the Big Sky state. He has already made his mark.

Ky Kouba, a 6-foot-3 player from Billings, Montana, was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 24.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the two victories. He made 18 of 22 shots from the field and was 12 of 16 from 3-point range.

The Aggies will obviously have to keep an eye on Kouba.

Odom is planning on meeting with the media on Tuesday to discuss the exhibition game. Check online Tuesday night for his thoughts on his first exhibition game at the USU helm at: www.hjnews.com

SOCCER

With a soggy field, the Aggies went south to play their final home game of the regular season. Senior Day in Salt Lake City was a success.

USU not only picked up a win, but punched its ticket to the Mountain West Conference tournament that will be held next week in Boise, Idaho. The Aggies blanked league foe Wyoming on Sunday, 3-0, at Ute Field on the campus of the University of Utah.

It was the second straight year USU (12-4-3, 5-3-2 MW) faced the Cowgirls (7-10-1, 3-7-0) for Senior Day and won by the exact same scoreline.

It took the Aggies less than two minutes to get on the scoreboard. Kami Warner redirected a cross from Sara Taylor into the back of the net. The goal came a mere 67 seconds after kickoff, but proved to be the lone goal during the opening 45 minutes. USU took a 1-0 lead into the break.

Taylor, who was named the America First Credit Union USU Student-Athlete of the Week on Monday, was back at it in the second half, taking a perfectly weighted ball to her feet from Alex Day. Taylor then chipped a lovely volley over Wyoming’s keeper for her team-best-tying sixth goal of the season.

The Aggies punctuated their scoring in the 70th minute when Warner played a ball down the wing to HalleKate Munson. Her cross then found the head of Cache Valley native Sammie Murdock and was put into the back of the net. The goal marked Murdock’s sixth goal of the season, tying Taylor and Ashley Cardozo for the team lead. Munson’s assist marked her first of the season as 13 different Aggies have now recorded at least one assist this year.

USU keeper Diera Walton made way for senior keeper Rachel Noel in the 76th minute as the duo combined for a shutout, with Walton finishing with two saves and Noel finishing with one.

Noel was one of seven graduating seniors honored before the match, with five of the seven playing in the contest. Cardozo and Warner each started in the midfield. Karstyn Peterson started along the backline for the Aggies. Marli Niederhauser, another local product, came on as a reserve and played in 32 minutes and finished second on the team with three shots, including two on goal. Imelda Williams and Alyssa Ulugalu were unavailable for the match because of injuries.

The Aggies will get an early look at the location of the conference tournament when they close out the regular season at Boise State on Thursday.

VOLLEYBALL

The Aggies continued their winning streak Saturday at the Estes Center, beating Fresno State in four, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, 25-18. It was the fifth straight win for USU (16-6, 8-2), who currently sits in second place in the MW standings.

On Monday, Adna Mehmedovic was named the MW Freshman of the Week. The freshman from Peoria, Arizona, played a crucial role in USU’s five-set victory over Boise State last Tuesday. Mehmedovic joins Abby Peterson as the only Aggies to earn MW Player of the Week honors this season.

Against the Bulldogs on Saturday, outside hitter Kristy Frank led the attack, registering 17 kills while hitting .464. Tatum Stall posted her second double-double of the week with 14 kills and a team-high 12 digs. Middle blocker Inka Mehtola led the Aggies with six blocks.

The Aggies ended the day hitting .311, while Fresno State had a .156 attack percentage.

USU will open the second half of the MW season on the road this week with a pair of matches. The Aggies will play at San Diego State on Thursday, then at UNLV on Saturday.

Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.

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