Volleyball Falls in MW Opener at Utah State
Sept. 21, 2017
LOGAN, Utah -- The San Diego State volleyball team captured the opening set in its Mountain West opener at Utah State, but could not build on its early lead, dropping the final three frames in a 3-1 loss (25-21, 23-25, 14-25, 19-25) Thursday night on Kirby Court at Wayne Estes Center.
With the defeat, the Aztecs fall to 6-8 on the year and 0-1 in the conference, while the Aggies raise their record to 9-4 overall and 1-0 in the MW.
After hitting .289 in the opening stanza, SDSU was unable to maintain its offensive rhythm over the final three sets, attacking at a .043 clip, while the Aggies maintained a 41-32 advantage in kills during that stretch and committed 12 fewer hitting errors (27-15) to help fuel their comeback.
Overall, USU owned the statistical advantage in hitting percentage (.233-.103), kills (56-46), digs (65-64) and total blocks (8.0-7.0) to snap the Aztecs' three-match winning streak in conference openers.
Individually, SDSU was led by Hannah Turnlund, who finished with 12 kills, while the trio of Alexandra Psoma, Deja Harris and Ashlynn Dunbar launched nine put-aways apiece. In addition, Devyn Pritchard anchored the back row with 20 digs, while Dunbar collected 14 scoops of her own. Indigo Thompson also got into the act with 23 assists, while Baylee Little tied for match-high honors with four block assists.
USU jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set thanks to a pair of kills by Lauren Anderson and Katie DeCoursey, while Kassidy Johnson added a service ace. However, the Scarlet and Black fashioned a 13-6 run, sparked by three team blocks and a trio of non-returnables by Dunbar, to take the lead for good at 15-13.
SDSU kept the host school at bay for the remainder of the frame, increasing the margin to 20-16 following an Aggie setting error. USU cut the gap to 22-21 after an errant Aztec serve, but returned the favor on the very next point, while Dunbar and Alexis Cage knocked down consecutive kills for the clinching tallies.
San Diego State nursed an early 4-2 advantage in the second stanza after two straight USU attack errors, but the margin quickly evaporated when the Aggies scored four straight points to vault in front to stay.
Frustrated, the Aztecs found themselves in pursuit mode for the remainder of the set, but were never able to regain the upper hand. Trailing by as many as four points, SDSU cut the deficit to one on five separate occasions, including a 24-23 spread following a kill by Little. However, the Scarlet and Black could not extend the frame as DeCoursey responded with a put-away to even the set scoreboard at 1-1.
The Aztecs forged an 8-8 tie in set number three after a pair of Psoma kills, but could not break out on top, as Utah State took control with a methodical 17-6 outburst to close out the frame. SDSU managed just nine kills in 30 attempts with eight errors (.033) in the set, while the Aggies put down 15 kills on 26 swings with just two miscues (.500).
The two sides battled through seven ties early in the fourth set before USU scored six straight points to erase a 12-9 Aztec advantage. Anderson recorded two kills during that span a combined with Bailey Downing on a block, while Rachel Gale-Hammond added a service ace.
Suddenly trailing 15-12, SDSU twice narrowed the gap to one, including a 17-16 spread following a Turnlund kill. However, the Aggies quickly extinguished the Aztecs' comeback hopes with four straight points to ignite an 8-3 clinching run.
USU was paced by Anderson, who finished with a career-high tying 23 kills and 12 digs for her sixth double-double of the year, while DeCoursey totaled 13 put-aways of her own. In addition, Johnson handed out a match-high 49 assists, while Tasia Taylor amassed 17 digs.
San Diego State wraps up its six-match road swing on Saturday when it tackles Boise State at 2 p.m. MT/ 1 p.m. PT.