Volleyball Drops a Tough One at Wyoming
Nov. 15, 2017
LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Despite a career-high 19 kills from Hannah Turnlund, the San Diego State volleyball team dropped a tough 3-1 decision to Wyoming (22-25, 25-27, 25-17, 25-27) in a Mountain West road match Wednesday night at UniWyo Sports Complex.
In their final road match of the regular season, the Aztecs owned a sizable 65-54 advantage in kills and a 10.0-6.0 margin in team blocks; however, the visitors were unable to overcome a plague of 29 attack errors and eight errant serves, losing its first match of the year (16-1) when maintaining a greater hitting percentage (.209-.203).
With the loss, SDSU slips to 16-14 on the year and 10-7 conference play, while the Cowgirls clinched second place in the Mountain West standings with a 12-5 league mark and a 17-12 ledger overall.
In addition to Turnlund's heroics, the Aztecs received double-digit kills from Alexis Cage (14) and Baylee Little (11), while setter Gabi Peoples recorded her fourth double of the year after dishing out a match-high 54 assists to go with 13 digs.
At the net, Deja Harris (9 kills) led all players with eight block assists, while Devyn Pritchard surpassed the 20-dig barrier for the 12th time this year along the back row with a team-high 24 scoops.
The two sides battled through a whopping 36 ties and 15 lead changes in three out of the four sets with the exception of the third stanza, where SDSU maintain the upper hand throughout.
Wyoming led by as many as four points in the opening set as a combined block by Marissa Harmon and Reed Copeland gave the host school a 19-15 advantage. Moments later, the Scarlet and Black responded with a 7-3 spurt, capped by a Harris kill and a wayward Cowgirl attack, to tie the score at 22-22. However, the visitors committed two costly hitting errors after a kill by Halie McArdle, allowing Wyoming to escape.
The Cowgirls grabbed a pair of four-point leads early in the second set, including an 8-4 spread following a Jackie McBride kill. The Aztecs kept things close, eventually vaulting in front 20-18 after a put-away by Little and a Wyoming attack error punctuated a 16-10 run.
Frustrated in its attempts to close out the Cowgirls thanks to a pair of kills by Copeland, who also joined forces with Tara Traphagan on a block, SDSU still managed to get to set point at 24-23 after an errant swing by McArdle. However, Wyoming employed a timely 4-1 run to steal the set once again, with Emily Lewis provided two clutch put-aways during that span.
Stung, the Aztecs sharpened their attack in the third set, hitting at a .400 clip by blasting 15 kills on 35 attempts with just one error. Turnlund and Little launched four non-returnables apiece during the frame, with the latter hitting .800. SDSU led wire-to-wire, building a comfortable 18-12 bulge following a kill by Cage. The Cowgirls never got any closer than three points the rest of the way as Harris found the opposite floor on two occasions down the stretch and also combined with Peoples on a block.
Turnlund brought the heat in the fourth set, knocking down nine of the team's 16 kills, while Cage added four of her own. However, the Aztecs were beset by 11 hitting errors in the frame, which thwarted their efforts to extend the match.
Nevertheless, a fifth set appeared in the offing after SDSU erased a 22-19 deficit with a 5-1 spurt. Cage ignited the run with a kill, while Turnlund contributed two more sandwiched around consecutive Wyoming attack errors.
The Aztecs were stymied by a McArdle put-away and a Lily Austin service ace, but still managed to get to another set point at 25-24 following Turnlund's final kill of the night. Frustratingly, SDSU could not get the clinching point as the Cowgirls sealed the match with three straight points, including a block by Traphagan and McBride, followed by a Marissa Harmon kill and an inopportune Aztec hitting error.
McArdle led Wyoming with 13 kills on the night, while Austin scooped up a match-high 31 digs in the victory.
San Diego State closes out its regular-season schedule on Saturday, Nov. 18, when it plays host to No. 24 Colorado State at Aztec Court. First serve is set for 1 p.m. PT. The Aztecs will celebrate the accomplishments of Alexis Cage, Baylee Little and Devyn Pritchard as part of Senior Day festivities.