Volleyball Rolls Past UNLV in Four Sets
Nov. 9, 2017
SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego State volleyball team won for the sixth time in its last seven matches on Thursday with a 3-1 victory over visiting UNLV in a Mountain West clash at Aztec Court.
The Aztecs maintained a hefty advantage in kills (60-32), hitting percentage (.295 to .070) and digs (66-38) to improve to 15-13 on the season and 9-6 in conference play, while the Rebels dropped their fifth in row, falling to 8-20 overall and 4-11 in the MW.
Coupled with San José State's loss to Wyoming, SDSU has taken over sole possession of third place in the MW race, remaining one match behind the Cowgirls, who occupy the second spot with a 10-5 league mark.
Individually, the Aztecs had three players reach double figures in kills, led by sophomore Ashlynn Dunbar and junior Deja Harris, who recorded 14 put-aways each, while senior Baylee Little finished with 12 non-returnables of own after hitting a career-best .857 with just two errors on 14 attempts.
Freshman setter Gabi Peoples also got into the act with her third double-double of the season on a match-high 51 assists, while senior libero Devyn Pritchard surpassed the 25-dig plateau for the fifth time in her last nine outings after leading all players with 26 scoops on Thursday.
Despite getting out-blocked as a team 13.0 to 8.0 for the night, SDSU seized control of the contest in the third and fourth sets, posting a .348 hitting percentage, while limiting UNLV to a minus-.002 clip. During that stretch the Aztecs knocked down more kills (33-11) to help avenge an earlier loss to the Rebels in Las Vegas on Oct. 14.
UNLV posted its best attack percentage in the second set, hitting at a .414 pace on 14 kills with just two errors on 29 swings. The Rebels never trailed in the frame, employing a timely 13-6 closing run to break open a tight 12-10 score. Mariena Hayden sent down four kills during the outburst, while Thea Sweder contributed three put-aways of her own. Moments later, Sweder combined with Ashley Owens on a block, while Elsa Descamps provided the clinching point with a service ace to level the match at 1-1.
Following the halftime break, the two sides traded points on the first four serves of the third set before a Harris service ace sparked a 16-6 run to give SDSU an insurmountable 18-8 lead it would not relinquish. Dunbar and Harris launched two kills each during the blitz, while Peoples and Little contributed two block assists each. With the Aztecs firing on all cylinders, Little and Dunbar supplied four of the team's six kills down the stretch, while Harris and senior Alexis Cage contributed the others.
SDSU faced a pair of three-point deficits in the fourth stanza, including an 8-5 spread after the Rebels' Descamps and Hayden joined forces on a block. However, the Aztecs flashed their resiliency, utilizing a 7-2 spurt to take the lead for good at 12-10.
UNLV benefited from an Aztec attack error on the next serve. However, the Scarlet and Black quickly countered with an impressive 13-2 closing run, which left UNLV in its wake. Little and Hannah Turnlund delivered three kills each during that span, while Peoples added a service ace.
Turnlund and Cage aided the SDSU cause with eight kills apiece for the match, while Harris (5) and Dunbar (4) topped the squad in block assists.
Conversely, the Rebels were led by Hayden's 12 kills, while Owens came up with a match-high seven block assists, followed by Descamps, who had six stops of her own.
San Diego State returns to the hardwood on Saturday, when it plays host to New Mexico, starting at 1 p.m. PT. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free pair of Aztec socks.