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Utah State’s volleyball program has turned to some international talent to help turn things around.

For the second time this month, the Aggies have signed a player from overseas. Middle blocker Inka Mehtola, who is from Finland, finalized her commitment to USU earlier this week.

Mehtola will be an incoming freshman for the Aggies after spending this past club season playing for powerhouse program LP Viesti. LP Viesti placed second at the most recent Finnish Cup and has captured nine Finnish Cup championships since 2009.

The 6-foot middle blocker played her club volleyball for Raahen Lentopallo from 2014-19 and helped propel her team to runner-up performances at the 2017 and 2018 Finnish Junior Championships. Additionally, Mehtola competed for the U18 Finnish National Team at the 2017 European Championship and the U19 national squad at the 2018 installment of that same tournament.

“We are excited to have Inka join our program. She is a wonderful person, a disciplined student and is passionate about the process of improving her game,” USU head coach Rob Neilson said in a press release. “She has participated at the highest levels in Finland, and is also an accomplished high jumper. She will bring great athleticism and experience to our team.”

Indeed, Mehtola, who is from Raahe, Finland, has also shined as a track & field athlete. The recent graduate of Salon Lukio Secondary School placed first in the high jump at the Finnish-Swedish National Match two years ago and medaled six times at the Finnish Junior Championships during her career — four silvers and two bronze.

Earlier this month, the Aggies signed outside hitter Kristy Frank, who is from Kiev, Ukraine. Frank transferred to Utah State from Wiley (Texas) College, where she was a third-team NAIA All-American in 2019.

Frank was selected as the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Player of the Year as a sophomore as she led all RRAC competitors with 4.4 kills per set. Frank, who racked up 301 kills in 68 sets, also finished second on her team with 2.9 digs per set. Frank was named the RRAC Freshman of the Year in 2018 and also garnered first-team all-conference honors.

The Aggies, who went 2-28 last fall, signed former Sky View standout setter Ashlee McUne earlier this week. McUne’s younger sister, Haley, a soon-to-be Sky View senior, has verbally committed to USU. Ashlee McUne sparkled as a freshman setter for Utah State Eastern last fall.

The McUne sisters will be featured in a future edition of The Herald Journal.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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