Nov. 8, 2017
SAN DIEGO -
Match Week Preview
UNLV (8-19, 4-10 MW) at San Diego State (14-13, 8-6 MW)
Thursday, Nov. 9 | 6 p.m. PT | Aztec Court
Series: SDSU 26-19
New Mexico (14-13, 6-8 MW) at San Diego State (14-13, 8-6 MW)
Saturday, Nov. 11 | 1 p.m. PT | Aztec Court
Series: SDSU 37-21
AZTECS PREPARING TO FACE UNLV, NEW MEXICO THIS WEEK
> San Diego State will play three of its final four regular-season matches at home, starting this week when it entertains UNLV and New Mexico at Aztec Court.
> SDSU will battle the Rebels on Thursday, Nov. 9, beginning at 6 p.m. PT, before locking horns with the Lobos on Saturday, Nov. 11, starting at 1 p.m. PT.
> In addition to live stats, both contests will feature streaming video via the Mountain West Network on GoAztecs.com.
> The first 250 fans in attendance for the SDSU-UNLV clash will receive a free Aztec T-shirt, while free Aztec socks will be given away prior the SDSU-UNM match.
> San Diego State split its two encounters last week, sweeping Fresno State at home (25-16 25-14, 25-20) on Halloween night before suffering a heartbreaking loss in five sets at Air Force (26-24, 19-25, 25-27, 25-20, 10-15), which snapped the Aztecs' five-match winning streak.
> With the results, SDSU remains tied with San José State for third place in the Mountain West with an 8-6 conference record.
> The Aztecs' aforementioned victory stretch was their longest since 2012 when they defeated 11 straight opponents to close the regular season and win the Mountain West championship.
> SDSU is 14-0 this year when maintaining a higher hitting percentage and 7-0 when out-blocking its opponents.
SERIES RECORD VS. UNLV
> Despite suffering a 3-1 loss to Rebels in Las Vegas on Oct. 14, the Aztecs still lead the all-time series 26-19.
> In that contest, all four sets were decided by four points or less (25-23, 22-25, 23-25, 21-25).
> SDSU received a match-high 16 kills by Alexis Cage, while Hannah Turnlund (13) and Deja Harris (11) surpassed the double-digit plateau in put-aways.
> Despite maintaining a 56-44 advantage in kills and a 78-66 margin in digs, the Aztecs were undone by 38 attack errors, hitting just .090 for the match, including a .031 clip over the final three sets.
> In addition, SDSU was out-blocked 14.0 to 9.0, while UNLV served up six aces to help key its win.
> The Aztecs are 17-3 against the Rebels all-time in San Diego and have won nine of the last 10 matches between the two squads in "America's Finest City," including a sweep in their 2016 home finale (25-23, 25-22, 25-13).
SERIES RECORD VS. NEW MEXICO
> After posting a 3-1 triumph on Oct. 12 (20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 27-25), the Aztecs moved to 37-21 in the all-time series vs. the Lobos.
> In that match, three SDSU players recorded double-doubles, including Alexis Cage, who posted a season-high 21 kills and added 15 digs, while Deja Harris produced another solid all-round effort with 12 put-aways to go with career-best 11 blocks (1 solo).
> Not to be outdone, Gabi Peoples contributed 54 assists and 11 digs, while Devyn Pritchard finished with 29 dig for the second straight match.
> The two sides logged 13.0 team blocks apiece, but the Aztecs maintained a collective advantage in both kills (66-47) and digs (68-54) while holding a slight edge in hitting percentage .202 to .173 to help fuel their win.
> After recording a .112 clip over the first two sets, SDSU found its rhythm, hitting .303 in the final two frames to close out UNM.
> The Aztecs are 21-7 vs. the Lobos all-time in San Diego and have won five straight against UNM on The Mesa, including a five-set victory in 2015 (16-25, 16-25, 25-15, 25-23, 15-9).
> Baylee Little is SDSU's top returner from that match, posting 17 kills while hitting at a .394 clip. Alexandra Psoma, who suffered a season-ending knee injury on Sept. 28, also logged a double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
> UNLV (8-19, 4-10 MW) has lost four straight matches, including a 3-1 setback against San José State (20-25, 21-25, 17-25) in its last outing at home on Nov. 4. In that match, the Spartans posted more kills (63-45) and a greater hitting percentage (.260-.197) to help defeat the Rebels. Individually, freshman Mariena Hayden leads UNLV with an average of 2.89 kills per set and tops the Mountain West with 35 service aces overall. In addition, sophomore Leka Kiner-Falefa occupies the fifth spot with 4.28 digs per set, while senior Ashley Owens ranks seventh with 1.21 blocks per frame. Sophomore setter Riley Jacobs also finds herself among the league leaders in assists (8th, 9.03/assists), while junior Elsa Descamps has chipped in 2.26 kills and 0.99 blocks per set. As a team, the Rebels are sixth in the MW this week with 2.27 blocks per set and rank seventh in digs (13.13/set). However, UNLV is currently at the bottom of the conference in kills (10.97/set), hitting percentage (.162), opponent hitting percentage (.224). The Rebels coached by Cindy Frederick, who is in her seventh season in charge of the Rebel program. Prior to her arrival in Las Vegas, Frederick was the head coach at Weber State (1985-88), Washington State (1989-2003), Iowa (2004-07) and Luther College (2010). Her career record stands at 549-440, including a 122-89 mark at UNLV. San Diego State head coach Deitre Collins-Parker also served as the Rebels head coach for eight years from 1996-2003. With the Aztecs, Collins-Parker is 10-6 against her former school.
> New Mexico (14-13, 6-8 MW) had its three-match winning streak snapped in a 3-1 home loss to Nevada (19-25, 25-18, 29-31, 20-25) on Nov. 4. In that contest, the Lobos received double-digit kill totals from sophomore outside hitter Lauren Twitty (19), freshman outside hitter Hailey Rubino (18) and junior middle blocker Victoria Spragg (10), but it wasn't enough as the Wolf Pack benefited from 34 UNM attack errors and posted more team blocks 12.0 to 6.0. Entering the week, Twitty ranks third in the MW in kills (3.91/set), while senior libero Ashley Kelsey (4.40 digs/set) and junior setter Carson Heilborn (9.48 assists/set) occupy the fourth spot in their respective categories. Not to be outdone, junior middle blocker Mariessa Carrasco ranks eighth in the conference with a .313 hitting percentage. Twitty owns the league's highest three-set kill total so far this season with 25 at Wyoming on Sept. 23. She also committed just two attack error in that match, finishing with a .442 hitting percentage. Collectively, the Lobos lead the conference with 14.96 digs per set and rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in hitting percentage (.211) and kills (12.71/set). For the season, opponents are hitting .209 against New Mexico, including a .221 clip in Mountain West competition. UNM is coached by Jeff Nelson, who is in his 11th season on the Albuquerque campus. Prior to assuming the reins of the Lobo program, Nelson served as head coach at Texas Tech 1995-2002) and San Francisco (2003-06). In 2009-10, Nelson guided UNM to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. His career record stands at 444-277, including a 202-130 record with the Lobos.
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 eight of 11 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 (608-483) and digs (629-530).
> SDSU has averaged nearly three kills more per set than its opponents (14.14-11.23).
> Similarly, the Aztec defense has held firm, averaging well over two digs per set more than the opposition (14.63-12.33).
> SDSU also owns a slight edge in hitting percentage (.209-.174) despite committing more attack errors during that span (288-230).
> In addition, SDSU has benefited in the service department, committing 31 fewer errors than its adversaries (69-100).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
> Over the last 11 matches, San Diego State has also received balanced offensive production, with the quartet of Alexis Cage (141), Deja Harris (125), Ashlynn Dunbar (116) and Hannah Turnlund (116) combining for 498 of the team's 608 kills (81.9 percent).
> During that span, Cage, Harris and Turnlund have logged double-digit kill totals on eight occasions, while Dunbar has accomplished the feat seven times.
> Cage has been particularly effective, averaging 3.28 kills and hitting .231 in 43 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 (78 kills, 31 blocks, .325) and Sam McGrath (77 digs, 12 aces).
> After posting its fifth straight victory with a sweep of Fresno State at home on Halloween night (25-16, 25-14, 25-20), San Diego State had its winning streak come to a halt in a hard-fought loss at Air Force (26-24, 19-25, 25-27, 25-20, 10-15) on Nov. 5.
> Against the Bulldogs, the Aztecs avenged an earlier loss in Fresno, completing the match in just 1 hour and 13 minutes.
> Despite trailing in team blocks (9.0-5.0), SDSU more than made up for it, maintaining a sizable 45-26 advantage in kills to key its victory. > The Aztecs out-hit Fresno State .326 to .116 for the match, limiting the visitors to a minus-.160 clip in the second set.
> In addition, the Scarlet and Black owned a 6-1 edge in service aces and a 21-15 margin in digs.
> SDSU was led by senior combo of Baylee Little (.444, 3 block assists) and Alexis Cage (.391, 2 aces), who collected 12 kills apiece, while junior Deja Harris finished with eight put-aways of her own to go with a pair of blocks.
> In addition, the Aztecs received another solid performance from freshman Gabi Peoples, who finished with 34 assists and a pair of service aces, while senior Devyn Pritchard totaled eight digs and two helpers, along with a rare kill. Sophomore Ashlynn Dunbar also got into the act by launching seven non-returnables while recording five digs and two blocks.
> Six days later at Air Force, SDSU compiled more kills (60-58) and maintained a sizable advantage in digs (81-68), but got out-hit (.183 to .103) and out-blocked (25.0 to 11.5) by the Falcons.
> The Aztecs had four players post double-digit kill totals, including Hannah Turnlund (4 blocks), who blasted a career-high 16 put-aways, while Harris recorded 12 non-returnables of her own to go with eight blocks (2 solos), and a personal-best nine digs.
> In addition, Little (.375) contributed 11 kills and three blocks, while Dunbar recorded her fourth double-double of the year with 10 put-aways and 15 digs. Allong the back row, Pritchard racked up a match-high 27 digs, while Alexis Cage just missed out on a double-double after logging nine kills and 12 digs. Elsewhere, Gabi Peoples (31 assists) and Indigo Thompson (22 assists) split time at the setter position.
For complete release, please view PDF at top of page