Volleyball Faces Road Test at No. 17 USD
Sept. 11, 2017
SAN DIEGO – After winning two straight at home last weekend, the San Diego State volleyball team embarks on a six-match swing away from Aztec Court, starting Tuesday when the Scarlet and Black squares off against No. 17 San Diego in a crosstown battle at Jenny Craig Pavilion. First serve is set for 6 p.m. PT.
In addition to Gametracker stats, streaming video courtesy of TheW.tv will be available on GoAztecs.com.
SDSU (4-5) is coming off a 2-1 showing at its second home event of the year at the JLABS Challenge, falling to Loyola Marymount (3-0) in the opener, before defeating Long Beach State (3-2) and Pacific (3-0) for its first winning streak of the year.
Middle blocker Deja Harris turned in another sparkling all-round performance over the weekend, hitting a combined .418 while averaging 3.45 kills in 11 sets played. Against Long Beach State, the Aztec junior recorded season-highs of 15 kills and seven total blocks to go with a .379 attack percentage and a pair of aces. In the decisive fifth set, Harris launched four kills, as SDSU routed the 49ers 15-3 to complete its rally from a 2-1 deficit.
Senior outside hitter Alexis Cage also got into the act against LBSU, logging the Aztecs’ first double-double of the season with a season-best 15 kills and 13 digs, while junior outside hitter Alexandra Psoma reached double figures with 11 put-aways of her own. Anchoring the back row was senior libero Devyn Pritchard, who finished with a season-high 22 digs and served up three aces.
Against Pacific, Harris notched SDSU’s third-highest individual attack percentage of the season (.562) and blasted 11 kills, extending her streak of double-digit non-returnables to five straight matches. In addition, freshman Gabi Peoples made her second career start a memorable one, dishing out a match-high 37 assists to go with eight digs and a service ace to help the Aztecs complete their third sweep of the year. With the victory, San Diego State is now 76-86 against current members of the West Coast Conference.
For the season, Harris has been a force on both sides of the stat sheet, posting a team-best .427 hitting percentage, which ranks third in the Mountain West, while leading the squad with 3.10 kills per set. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native also occupies the ninth spot in the MW this week with a team-high 1.10 blocks per frame.
In addition, Pritchard finds herself among the league leaders this week in digs (8th, 3.97/set) and service aces (9th, 0.31/set).
As a team, SDSU ranks among the top of the half of the MW in hitting percentage (3rd, .242), kills (4th, 13.50/set) and assists (12.70/set).
San Diego State will be looking to put the brakes on an eight-match slide vs. USD, including a 3-0 defeat last year at Aztec Court. In that contest, Harris led the Scarlet and Black with 10 kills and a .368 hitting percentage, while Psoma launched eight non-returnables of her own and contributed three blocks. Although both teams totaled 17 errors over the three sets, the Toreros recorded 48 kills and a .337 hitting percentage compared to 37 kills and a .230 attack mark for SDSU. With the loss, the Aztecs moved to 26-29 against USD in the all-time series.
The Toreros, who received a No. 17 ranking in the latest AVCA poll, are off to a 6-3 start this year after posting a 2-1 mark at the Utah Classic last weekend in Salt Lake City. USD dropped a tough five-set battle to the host and 18th-ranked Utes, before rebounding with a pair of sweeps against Missouri and Green Bay.
Individually, the Toreros are led by senior opposite hitter Jayden Kennedy, who ranks sixth in the WCC with a team-best 3.63 kills per set to go with 22 total blocks (0.73/set), while junior middle blocker Kaity Edwards (2.90 kills/set) tops the league with a .423 hitting percentage. USD also boasts senior setter Kristen Gengenbacher, who occupies the fourth spot in the WCC with 10.80 assists per set, while junior middle blocker Addie Picha ranks eighth with 1.04 blocks per set.
Following Tuesday’s clash, San Diego State will close off the non-conference portion of its 2017 schedule when it travels to the Rocky Mountains for the University of Denver Invitational, Sept. 15-16, in Denver, Colorado. The Aztecs will face UC Riverside on Friday at 3 p.m. MT/2 p.m. PT, before engaging Gonzaga (10 a.m. MT/9 a.m. PT) and the host Pioneers (7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT) on Saturday.