Volleyball Readies for Fresno State, Air Force Matches

Oct. 30, 2017

SAN DIEGO -

Match Week Preview
Fresno State (9-15, 4-8 MW) at San Diego State (13-12, 7-5 MW)
Tuesday, Oct. 31 | 6 p.m. PT | Aztec Court | San Diego, Calif.
Series: SDSU 30-12

San Diego State (13-12, 7-5 MW) at Air Force (10-16, 3-9 MW)
Sunday, Nov. 5 | 1 p.m. MT/Noon PT | Cadet East Gym | USAF Academy, Colo.
Series: SDSU 37-5

Weekly Release

AZTECS PREPARE TO BATTLE FRESNO STATE, AIR FORCE
> Winners of four straight and seven of its last nine, San Diego State looks to extend its victory streak this week when it takes on Fresno State and Air Force in a pair of Mountain West matches.
> The Aztecs play host to the Bulldogs on Tuesday, Oct. 31, in a Halloween encounter starting at 6 p.m. PT, before traveling to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains to face the Falcons on Sunday, Nov. 5, beginning at 1 p.m. MT/Noon PT.
> In addition to live stats, both contests will feature streaming video via the Mountain West Network on GoAztecs.com.
> The first 300 fans in attendance for the SDSU-Fresno State clash will receive a free taco to celebrate Taco Tuesday at Aztec Court.
> After starting MW play 0-3, SDSU has won seven of its last nine matches, including a pair of victories on the road last week at Nevada and San José State.
> The Aztecs posted a 3-1 triumph over the Wolf Pack (25-21, 17-5, 25-19, 25-18) on Oct. 26, before sweeping the Spartans (25-20, 25-19, 25-21) last Saturday.
> With the results, SDSU finds itself tied with SJSU for third place in the Mountain West with a 7-5 conference record.
> The Aztecs have won four straight matches for the first time since Sept. 10-17, 2016 (Stony Brook, UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton).
> In addition, SDSU has defeated four consecutive MW opponents for the first time since 2012 when it vanquished 11 straight conference foes to wrap up the regular season and win the league title.
> The Aztecs are 13-0 this year when maintaining a higher hitting percentage and 7-0 when out-blocking their opponent.

SERIES RECORD VS. FRESNO STATE
> San Diego State owns a 30-12 varsity record against Fresno State dating back to 1980.
> The Aztecs dropped a 3-1 decision to the Bulldogs (24-26, 25-19, 19-25, 22-25) in the last meeting between the two squads on Oct. 3 in Fresno.
> In that contest, SDSU received double-digit kill totals from Deja Harris (12), Ashlynn Dunbar (12) and Hannah Turnlund (11), while Devyn Pritchard scooped up 23 digs.
> Despite maintaining a 53-40 advantage in kills and a 63-54 margin in digs, the Aztecs were undone by 36 attack errors, hitting .114 for the night, but Fresno State committed nearly half that total with 19 miscues while serving up seven aces.
> In addition, SDSU yielded a season-high 15.0 team blocks to the Bulldogs, compared to just 8.0 stops of their own.
> The Aztecs are 15-3 against Fresno State in San Diego and have won five straight against the Bulldogs at Aztec Court.

SERIES RECORD VS. AIR FORCE
> After posting a 3-1 triumph over the Falcons on Oct. 7 (25-14, 29-31, 25-20, 25-15), the Aztecs moved to 37-5 in the all-time series vs. Air Force.
> In that contest, four SDSU players reached double figures in kills, including Alexis Cage (13), Hannah Turnlund (12), Deja Harris (10) and Ashlynn Dunbar (10), as head coach Deitre Collins-Parker collected her 300th career victory.
> Harris also anchored a solid defensive effort, matching her season-high with seven block assists, while Peoples and Baylee Little totals six stuffs apiece. Not to be outdone, Sam McGrath set a personal best with four service aces.
> The Aztecs outhit the Falcons 84-.163, maintaining a 53-47 advantage in kills and a 13.0-.7.0 spread in team blocks to help key their conquest.
> In addition, SDSU was the beneficiary of 16 Air Force service errors, including seven in the third set alone.
> The Aztecs are 15-3 against the Falcons at the Academy, including a 3-0 victory last season (25-19, 26-24, 25-22).
> Harris is SDSU's top returner from that match, posting 11 kills while hitting at a .444 clip. She also led all players with seven blocks (one solo) and chipped in with a dig and service ace.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
> Fresno State (9-15, 4-8 MW) has lost three straight matches, including a 3-0 setback at Nevada (20-25, 21-25, 17-25) in its last outing on Oct. 28. Junior Taylor Slover led the Bulldogs with eight kills and 11 digs in that contest, but committed 10 errors to finish with a minus-.059 attack percentage, while fellow classmate Brielle Hefner totaled eight put-aways of her own to go with three block assists. In addition, junior Haile Watson came up with four blocks overall, including a solo stuff, while senior Jacqueline Hutcheson collected 10 digs. For the season, Slover has averaged a team-best 3.20 kills per set to go with 1.64 digs per frame. In addition, Hefner (2.67) and junior Aubrey Folk (2.34) have averaged over two kills apiece per set, while Hutcheson tops the squad with 3.96 digs per frame, which ranks seventh in the conference. Watson (4th, 1.26/set) and senior Lauren Torres (9th, 1.11/set) also find themselves among the league leaders in blocks, while freshman Sydney Lostumo ranks second entering the week in service aces (0.38/set). Collectively, Fresno State occupies the second spot in the MW with 2.74 blocks per set, while its average of 1.28 aces per frame ranks sixth. Conversely, the Bulldogs are eighth in the league with a .191 hitting percentage and rank 10th with 11.75 kills per set. Conference opponents are hitting at a .216 clip against the Bulldogs, which is fourth-worst in the MW. Head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell is in her 10th season at Fresno State after spending two years directing the Hofstra program in New York, highlighted by a Colonial Athletic Association championship and an NCAA tournament appearance in 2006. Her career record stands at 173-184, including a 129-162 mark with the Bulldogs.

> Air Force (10-16, 3-9 MW) enters the week on a four-match losing streak, including a a 3-1 defeat at Wyoming on Oct. 27 (21-25, 25-20, 12-25, 17-25). In that match, sophomore Denise Ssozi (14), junior Abigail Miksch (14) and senior Piper Heineck (13) combined for 41 of the Falcons' 54 kills. Prior to Sunday's encounter with the Aztecs, Air Force will play host to Fresno State on Friday, Nov. 3. Ssozi (3.35/set) and Miksch (3.27/set) are among the conference leaders in kills, ranking seventh and eighth, respectively, while Heineck is eighth in blocks (1.13/set) and ninth in hitting percentage (.304). Earlier, Heineck recorded the MW's highest individual attack percentage in a single match this year with an .846 clip (12-1-13) against The Citadel on Sept. 2. Not to be outdone, junior setter Shanleigh Conlan is averaging 7.57 assists per set, which ranks 10th in the MW, while freshman Alex King tops the squad with 2.33 digs per frame. As a team, the Falcons occupy the ninth spot in the league at the start of the week with a .183 hitting percentage and an average of 12.11 kills per set. Air Force also ranks sixth in the conference with a .206 opponent attack percentage. Marc Swindle is in his second season as head coach at the Academy after spending six years as an assistant with the program. His career record is 20-37.

AZTECS AMONG MOUNTAIN WEST LEADERS
> Entering the week, Deja Harris, Devyn Pritchard and Gabi Peoples are among the MW leaders in various categories.
> In overall matches, Harris ranks third in the league with a .350 hitting percentage and is fifth with 1.26 blocks per set.
> Pritchard also occupies third position this week with 4.58 digs per frame. > Meanwhile, Peoples moved into the sixth slot with 9.31 assists per set.
> As a team, SDSU ranks among the top half of the conference in kills (3rd, 13.50/set), assists (3rd, 12.43/set) and digs (5th, 13.56/set).
> In Mountain West matches, Pritchard maintains the top spot in digs (5.36/set); Peoples ranks second in assists (11.20/set), while Harris is fourth in blocks (1.34/set).
> In addition, Baylee Little remains in the ninth spot with a .301 hitting percentage.
> Collectively against conference foes, the Aztecs rank second in the league in both kills (13.77/set) and digs (14.62/set).
> In MW action, SDSU also finds itself among the top half of the league in opponent hitting percentage (3rd, .191), assists (3rd, 12.49/set) and blocks (2.39/set).

KEYS TO THE TURNAROUND
> After starting Mountain West play with an 0-3 record, San Diego State has turned things around, winning seven of nine matches to climb into a tie for third place in the conference race.
> During that stretch, the Aztecs have maintained a statistical advantage in several categories, including kills (503-399) and digs (527-447).
> SDSU has averaged nearly three kills more per set than its opponents (14.37-11.40) despite committing more attack errors during that span (230-186).
> Similarly, the Aztec defense has held firm, averaging well over two digs per set more than the opposition (15.06-12.77).
> SDSU also owns a slight edge in total blocks (87.5-83.5) and hitting percentage (.216-.175).
> In addition, SDSU has benefited in the service department, committing 26 fewer errors than its adversaries (58-84).<

SPREADING THE WEALTH
> Over the last nine matches, San Diego State has also received balanced offensive production, with the quartet of Alexis Cage (120), Deja Harris (105), Ashlynn Dunbar (99) and Hannah Turnlund (96) combining for 420 of the team's 503 kills (83.5 percent).
> During that span, Cage, Harris and Turnlund have logged double-digit kill totals on seven occasions, while Dunbar has accomplished the feat six times.
> Cage has been particularly effective, averaging 3.43 kills and hitting .252 in 35 sets played, compared to the previous 16 matches when she averaged 2.03 kps and posted a .214 attack percentage.
> Against Boise State, Cage posted her fifth double-double of the year with 16 kills and 13 digs.
> In addition, the Aztecs have profited from the play of Baylee Little (55 kills, 27 blocks, .297) and Sam McGrath (70 digs, 11 aces).

WEEKLY WRAP
> After recording a pair of road victories at Nevada (3-1) and San José State (3-0) last week, San Diego State (13-12, 7-5 MW) moved up one notch into a tie for third place in the Mountain West standings.
> The Aztecs defeated the Wolf Pack for the sixth straight occasion with a four-set triumph in Reno on Oct. 26 (25-20, 17-25, 25-19, 25-18).
> Despite trailing in team blocks (8.0-6.0) and digs (58-57), SDSU out-hit Nevada for the match .263 to .210, limiting the host school to a .030 clip in the fourth set.
> The two sides posted 53 kills apiece, but the Scarlet and Black capitalized on 23 attack errors and eight errant serves to sweep the season series.
> Individually, the Aztecs were paced by Ashlynn Dunbar, who recorded her third career double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs, while Deja Harris hit .667 for the night, launching 14 put-aways of her own to go with two digs and two blocks.
> SDSU also received a boost from Alexis Cage, who just missed out on a double-double as well after finishing with nine kills and 11 digs.
> In addition, Gabi Peoples and Devyn Pritchard registered match highs of 46 assists and 18 digs, respectively.
> Two days later in San Jose, the Aztecs avenged an earlier home loss to the Spartans with a three-set whitewash (25-20, 25-19, 25-21).
> Individually, SDSU's balanced offensive production featured five players totaling at least six kills, led by Cage, who blasted 12 non-returnables on the afternoon, while Hannah Turnlund finished with 11 put-aways of her own, followed by Harris (9), Baylee Little (7) and Dunbar (6).
> Harris hit .500 for the match and recorded three blocks (two solo), while Little recorded a team-high four stuffs of her own (one solo).
> Once again, Peoples and Pritchard led all players with 40 assists and 17 digs, respectively.
> Collectively, the Aztecs maintained the statistical advantage in most categories, including kills (46-35), hitting percentage (.271 to .162), digs (47-36) and team blocks (7.0-6.0). In addition, the Scarlet and Black benefited from eight wayward SJSU serves.

For complete release, please view PDF at top of page

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