Volleyball Heads To The Rockies To Face Air Force, New Mexico

Oct. 24, 2000

San Diego State (13-11, 5-4 MWC) wraps up its conference road schedule with visits to Air Force and New Mexico this week. On Friday, Oct. 27, the Aztecs will face the Falcons (6-14, 0-8 MWC) in Colorado Springs at 7:00 p.m. (MDT). The following evening, SDSU will square off against the Lobos (8-10, 4-4 MWC), also at 7:00 p.m. (MDT).

The Aztecs currently sit in fourth palce in the league standings at 5-4, a half-game ahead of New Mexico.

San Diego State leads the series with New Mexico by a 14-8 margin, including the Aztecs' three-game win over the Lobos in San Diego earlier this season. The Lobos had won the three previous meetings between the two teams, including sweeping last season's home-and-home series. Prior to those three matches, SDSU had won six in a row over the Lobos.

The Aztecs hold a 6-1 advantage in their series with Air Force, a mark that includes SDSU's win over the Falcons in Peterson Gym last month. The teams split last season's conference games with each side winning on its home floor. The other four meetings in the series came in 1994 and 1995 when the Aztecs won both home and away each of those years.

Air Force (6-14, 0-8 MWC) has lost eight in a row, all in conference play. Most recently, the Falcons lost at New Mexico in three games (15-12, 15-5, 15-13) last weekend. The Falcons' top hitter is middle blocker Shaylor Billings, a senior from Fallbrook, Calif., who attended Fallbrook High. She is hitting .341 on the season and is averaging 3.67 kills per game and almost one block per contest. Senior outside hitter Ana-Marie Ortega is averaging 3.23 kills a game and leads the Falcons with 25 service aces.

New Mexico (8-10, 4-4 MWC) will host UNLV on Friday night prior to facing SDSU. The victory over Air Force last weekend broke a three-match losing streak for the Lobos. UNM is coached by Laurel Brassey-Iverson, who played her collegiate volleyball at San Diego State and is a member of the SDSU Athletic Hall of Fame. The Lobos are led by Amy Amundson who is hitting .253. Micaela Conley (3.51 kpg) and Vanessa Shield (3.46 kpg) are the team kill leaders. Setter Kelly Griffin (10.82 assists per game) is a San Diego native who attended Poway High School.

The Aztecs split a pair of MWC matches last weekend, losing in three games to 16th-ranked Brigham Young on Friday, then coming back to defeat 18th-ranked Utah on Saturday.

Against BYU, the Aztecs fell by scores of 15-3, 18-16, 15-8. SDSU was led by Nicole Akporiaye who had 16 kills, two assists and five blocks. Others in double figures in kills included Amy Hallquist (11) and Aspen McPartland (10).

On Saturday, the Aztecs upset 18th-ranked Utah in five games (15-7, 16-18, 11-15, 16-14, 19-17), coming back from a 2-1 deficit to win the two-hour, 40-minute match. Amy Hallquist led SDSU with 25 kills and 19 digs while Erin Grady had a dozen kills, 13 blocks and a .333 hitting percentage. Senior Monet Solberg (20k, 14d) and freshman Aspen McPartland (16k, 22d)) also hit double figures in kills and digs.

Outside hitter Amy Hallquist earned Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors for her performance in SDSU's four matches last week. The senior from Phoenix helped the Aztecs to a 3-1 record last week, highlighted by the five-game win over 18th-ranked Utah.

Against Utah, she had a career-high 25 kills along with 19 digs, and assisted with the blocks for the winning points in games four and five. She began the week with six kills and four digs. vs. William & Mary, then had 14 kills and nine digs against UC Riverside. In the loss to 16th-ranked Brigham Young last Friday, she hit .320 with 11 kills.


            Overall                  Conference
Digs........174-Wright, McPartland...52-Allen

The Aztecs' win over Utah last Saturday was the team's first victory over a top-25 team since Oct. 7, 1995, when the Aztecs defeated 18th-ranked Brigham Young (15-12, 9-15, 16-14, 15-10) in Peterson Gym.

Sophomore Nicole Akporiaye hit .762 in SDSU's loss to BYU on Friday. She had 16 kills with no errors in 23 attacks. She has now hit double figures in each of SDSU's last three matches. In SDSU's four matches last week, Akporiaye hit .364 with an average of three kills a game.

With 975 assists, soph Melissa Wright is just six away from moving into the No. 9 spot on the SDSU career list. However, she still needs 104 assists to break into the single-season top 10. Her 76 assists vs. Utah established a career best, including last season when she played at Washington State.

Senior Erin Grady had 13 blocks (3 solo, 10 assists) against Utah. It was her second-best match total of the season and improved her average to 1.81 blocks a game. She is ranked second in the nation in that category this week after averaging 2.06 bpg over the team's four matches last week.

Freshman Aspen McPartland has reached double figures in kills in each of SDSU's last three matches, averaging 3.31 kpg over that span.

Senior Monet Solberg has been in double figures in kills in eight of the Aztecs last 10 matches. During that time, she has also averaged 3.31 kills a game.

After not playing a five-game match in its first 18 contests, San Diego State has now gone five games in three of its last six outings. The Aztecs are 3-0 in those matches.

San Diego State has won seven of its last nine matches to improve to 13-11 on the season. SDSU won only 11 games overall last season and a total of 16 over the past two years. With six MWC matches left, San Diego State has surpassed its conference win total (4) of last season and needs another win to equal its league win total (6) of the past two seasons.

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