Volleyball Suffers Four-Set Road Loss at UNLV
Oct. 14, 2017
LAS VEGAS -- San Diego State had its two-match winning streak snapped Saturday in a hard-fought 3-1 road loss to Mountain West adversary UNLV (25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 21-25) at Cox Pavilion.
For the sixth consecutive outing, the Aztecs (9-12, 3-5 MW) posted more kills than its opponent, including a 56-44 spread against the Rebels, while owning a 78-66 advantage in digs. However, SDSU was undone by 38 attack errors, hitting just .090 for the match, including a .031 clip over the final three sets. UNLV (7-14, 3-5 MW) didn't fare much better, recording a .151 attack percentage with 21 miscues, but the host school maintained a 14.0-9.0 margin in team blocks while serving up six aces to help key its win.
Offensively, the Aztecs were paced by Alexis Cage, who a collected a match-high 16 kills to go with nine digs, while Hannah Turnlund (13) and Deja Harris (11) both surpassed the double-digit plateau in put-aways. In addition, Gabi Peoples logged her second-straight double-double with 41 assists and 12 digs, while Devyn Pritchard registered 29 scoops of her own for the second straight contest to lead all players.
Also aiding the SDSU cause was Sam McGrath, who contributed a personal-best 17 digs, as the Scarlet and Black finished with a season-high total in that statistic. Elsewhere, freshman Erin Gillcrist saw her first action of the year, tying Harris for team-high honors with four block assists.
The two teams witnessed 14 ties and nine lead changes in a nip-and-tuck opening set, with neither side maintaining more than a three-point lead. The Aztecs posted their best attack percentage of the afternoon, hitting at a .297 clip on 16 kills in 37 attempts with five errors. Cage and Harris led the SDSU charge with four non-returnables apiece in the frame, while Turnlund and Ashlynn Dunbar had three each.
Still, the Rebels nursed a slim 20-18 advantage following a combined block by Elsa Descamps and Alison French to cap a 6-1 run. However, the Aztecs quickly fought themselves off the ropes with a 7-3 closing spurt, with Harris knocking down three kills during that span, while Loren Teter served up an ace.
Buoyed by its good fortune, SDSU jumped out to a 7-5 lead in the second stanza on the strength of three straight kills by Dunbar, who also joined forces with Tamia Reeves on a block. The Aztecs were unable to sustain the momentum, however, as UNLV answered with a 9-2 surge to vault in front for good. The Rebels recorded three blocks during that stretch, including two assists and a solo stuff by Descamps, while Mariena Hayden chipped in a pair of aces.
The Rebels widened the gap to eight points, with Descamps flooring a ball to give the hosts a seemingly comfortable 22-14 cushion. SDSU twice managed to pull within two, including a 24-22 spread following a combined block by Cage and Harris, but the rally came too little too late, as an errant swing on the ensuing serve provided UNLV the clinching tally.
The Aztecs found themselves in pursuit mode for much of the third frame after the Rebels registered six straight points to build a 7-1 bulge. SDSU countered with five consecutive scores of its own, including three kills by Cage. However, UNLV kept the visitors at bay momentarily with a 3-0 run, punctuated by a Riley Jacobs service ace.
The Rebels increased their lead to four points on three occasions, including a 20-16 spread following an Aztec attack error. SDSU flashed its resiliency once again, uncorking a 7-3 run to take its first lead of the set at 23-22. Harris fueled the outburst with two kills, while Turnlund and Gillcrist added one each. However, the Aztecs were unable to complete the comeback, as UNLV tallied the final three points to escape. Jill Berg knocked down a kill, while Ashley Jacobs came up with a solo block sandwiched around an SDSU hitting error.
The Rebels raced to a quick 10-3 lead in the fourth set on the strength of two combined blocks by Decamps and a pair of kills by Hayden. SDSU methodically whittled away at the deficit, pulling to within one on a Turnlund kill, an attack error and a bad set. The Aztecs promptly returned the favor with two errant swings, while Jacobs and Owens teamed up for a block to give the UNLV a 17-12 advantage.
SDSU twice narrowed the gap to two, including a 22-20 margin following a Rebel ball handling error, but could draw no closer.
Hayden (12) and Owens (11) each contributed double-digit kills for UNLV, while Leka Kina-Falefa finished with 26 digs. In addition, Descamps led all players with eight total blocks, including two solo efforts, while Owens and Jacobs chipped in five block assists each.
San Diego State returns to the court next week when it battles Boise State on Thursday, Oct. 19, to open a three-match homestand. First serve is set for 6 p.m. PT.