Volleyball Faces More Nationally-Ranked Competition

Sept. 4, 2000

After opening its season with four home matches, including a meeting with 8th-ranked Pepperdine on Tuesday of this week (Sept. 5), the Aztec women's volleyball team heads north to participate in the Nike Conference Challenge at Portland State. It will be the first of two consecutive road tournaments for the Aztecs, who will play in the Cornell Invitational September 15-16.

SDSU will play two matches each day in Portland:

Sept. 8   St. Mary's       3:00 p.m.
Sept. 8   Portland State   8:00 p.m.
Sept. 9   Oregon State     12:30 p.m.
Sept. 9   Idaho            5:30 p.m.

San Diego State has never lost to any of the teams it will face at the Nike Conference Challenge, but has not had many meetings with any of the other four schools.

Opp. Series Last Meeting: Idaho 1-0 (1993) Oregon State 3-0 (1982, 1983, 1985) Portland State 2-0 (1980, 1998) St. Mary's 1-0 (1996)

St. Mary's - The Gaels have begun their 2000 campaign with a record of 1-1, losing to fourth-ranked Long Beach State (3-0) and defeating UC Riverside (3-0). Heather Dill leads the team in kills with 26 while Ana Nelson is hitting .400 after two matches. In addition, Meagan Colbaugh is averaging 1.33 service aces a game along with a .333 hitting percentage.

Portland State - The Vikings (0-4) dropped the four matches they played last weekend at the Comcast Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. During that event, they faced Washington, Stanford, New Mexico and Drake. Stacy Ball leads the team with 28 kills while Nicole Gels has added 24. Ball was named to the all-tournament team after leading Portland State in kills, blocks and total attacks. The Vikings are a young team, with 10 of its 12 players either freshmen or sophomores.

Oregon State - The Beavers are a perfect 3-0 after winning the title at their own Showcase Tournament. They defeated Western Illinois (3-0), Stetson (3-0) and Boise State (3-1) to capture the tourney crown. Michele Solomon was named the tournament MVP after hitting .444 in the title game. Setter Brandi Bonnarens and middle blocker Gina Schmidt also garnered all-tournament honors.

Idaho - The Vandals (2-1) finished second at the Heritage Classic at Iowa State this past weekend. They defeated North Carolina-Greensboro and Iowa State by 3-0 margins, then narrowly lost to Creighton (3-2) in the tourney final. Sisters Heather (4.09 kpg) and Jenny Kniss (2.91 kpg) lead the Vandals, who are hitting .259 as a team.

The young Aztecs gained valuable experience in dropping three matches to ranked teams at Diggin' It 2000 at Cox Arena. SDSU lost to 10th-ranked Arizona (5-15, 2-15, 7-15), 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara (13-15, 7-15, 5-15) and 31st-ranked University of San Diego (6-15, 12-15, 7-15).

The Aztecs got excellent performances from a pair of freshmen during Diggin' It 2000. Bulgarian Zlatina Anguelova led the team in kills (22), digs (17) and hitting percentage (.357) in the three matches last weekend. Middle blocker Aspen McPartland was right behind her in kills (22) and was third in blocks per game (0.75 bpg).

McPartland and senior Erin Grady share the team lead in blocks with six apiece.

Melissa Wright, a sophomore transfer from Washington State, has moved into the starting setter role for the Aztecs. She averaged 11.5 assists per contest in her eight games over the weekend.

Senior Monet Solberg made the most of her playing time this past weekend. In the four games in which she played, she averaged 3.5 kills per contest with a .227 hitting percentage.

The Aztecs will compete at the Cornell Invitational (Sept. 15-16) against Kent State, Northeastern, and host school Cornell before returning home to face UC Riverside in Peterson Gym on Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m.

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