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Volleyball Set To Finish Regular Season At Riverside

The Aztecs will look to finsh on a high note when they travel to UC Riverside for their final regular-season match.
The Aztecs will look to finsh on a high note when they travel to UC Riverside for their final regular-season match.

Nov. 25, 2002

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AZTECS CONCLUDE REGULAR SEASON AT UC RIVERSIDE
San Diego State will wrap up its 2002 season when it heads north to face UC Riverside on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The contest is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start at the Student Rec Center on the UCR campus.

SERIES RECORD
SDSU leads the series with UC Riverside 8-1.

The teams last met during the 2000 campaign when San Diego State defeated the Highlanders both in San Diego and in Riverside.

UCR has been a Division I program for only the past three seasons.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION
Riverside enters the match against San Diego State with a record of 6-22 overall and 2-16 in the Big West Conference. The match will be the final contest of the season for UCR.

Head coach Sue Gozansky is in her 33rd season at Riverside and has won over 600 matches during her career.

The Highlanders have lost seven matches in a row and 17 of their last 18 after beginning the season with a 5-5 record.

UCR is led by a outside hitters Jamie DeKiewiet (2.90 kpg) and Katie DeRoos (2.72 kpg). Libero Lindsey Drennen averages a team-leading 3.00 digs per game followed by DeKiewiet (2.79 dpg) and Pam Hartman (2.56 dpg).

HEAD COACH MARK WARNER

SDSU head coach Mark Warner is in his eighth season at the helm of the Aztec women's program. His career record over the past seven seasons at SDSU stands at 138-108 (.561).

Over the past eight years, Warner has led his teams to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths and a Western Athletic Conference championship. His tutelage has produced 13 all-conference players.

LAST WEEK
San Diego State advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Fort Collins, Colo., winning their opener and dropping their second match of the championship event.

On Thursday, the Aztecs opened tourney play with a 3-0 (30-23, 30-23, 30-27) win over new Mexico, the third victory over the Lobos this season for SDSU. Senior Rochelle Currier led the Aztecs with 18 kills while Zlatina Anguelova and Aspen McPartland chipped in 13 apiece. Each of the latter two players recorded double-doubles during the match with 12 and 17 digs respectively.

The following day, SDSU dropped a 3-0 (24-30, 19-30, 19-30) decision to 24th-ranked Utah in the tourney semifinal. McPartland recorded another double double with 13 kills and 12 digs, but the Aztecs only hit .051 as a team.

McPartland was the lone San Diego player named to the all-tournament team.

ALL-CONFERENCE AZTECS...
San Diego State placed four players on the 2002 All-Mountain West Conference team including the league's co-Player of the Year and Setter of the Year.

Senior Nicole Akporiaye and juniors Aspen McPartland (co-Player of the Year) and Zlatina Anguelova were named to the all-conference squad along with senior Melissa Wright (Setter of the Year).

McPartland earned her award as the only conference athlete to hit over .300 (.307) while averaging better than three kills (3.01 kpg) and three digs (3.15 dpg).

Anguelova averaged 4.17 kpg to finish second in the league and also averaged 2.17 dpg.

Akporiaye was the MWC's leading blocker at 1.65 bpg while hitting .329.

Wright averaged 12.53 assists per game and hit .325 with over a kill per game. She is third in the MWC record book with 3,749 career assists.

...AND COACH OF THE YEAR
SDSU head coach Mark Warner was named the Mountain West Conference co-Coach of the Year along with Colorado State's Tom Hilbert.

He was selected for leading his team to a 20-win season and a second-place regular-season finish after SDSU was picked to finish fourth in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason poll.

It was the second such honor for the SDSU coach, who was named the Western Athletic Coach of the Year in 1995.

CLIMBING THE CHARTS
A number of Aztecs have broken into the single-season and career top 10 lists during the current campaign.

Setter Melissa Wright's 1,389 assists this fall is the fourth-most ever in a single season by an Aztecs. Wright's assist total each season that she has played at San Diego State (2000 through 2002) ranks on the SDSU top 10. She also has accumulated 3,826 career assists at SDSU to rank second all-time.

Nicole Akporiaye's 140 block assists this season is the fifth-most ever in a single season for an Aztec. Her career total of 360 block assists ranks fifth on the San Diego State list.

With a career total of 138 service aces, junior Robyn Gregg has broken into the SDSU career list top 10 in that category. She currently hold down the number-10 spot.

Junior Aspen McPartland, with 828 career digs, is one dig away from entering the Aztec top 10 list. In addition, her 382 digs during the current season places her seventh on the Aztec single-season list in that category.

GETTING IT DONE DEFENSIVELY
SDSU has kept its opponents' hitting percentages to under the .200 mark in 15 of its 20 victories this season, and under .100 in two of those wins. By contrast, San Diego State has been under the .200 mark in nine matches (one win and eight losses).

The Aztecs are averaging well over half a block (0.78) more per game than opponents.

Three players are averaging better than a block per game : Nicole Akporiaye (1.42 bpg), Aspen McPartland (1.22 bpg) and Megan Schauermann (1.10 bpg).

SDSU'S team blocking average has placed it among the national leaders throughout the 2002 season. Last week, the Aztecs' average of 2.98 blocks per game ranked 17th in the country. The team's current average is 2.94 bpg, and national rankings are published on Tuesday afternoon.

TWO STREAKS STOPPED
This fall, San Diego State won matches over the two schools that it had failed to defeat during the first three seasons of Mountain West Conference competition.

The Aztecs' victory over Brigham Young on Sept. 27 snapped a string of nine losses in a row to the Cougars by San Diego State. It was the first win over BYU since the 1996 season and only the third since 1990.

In addition, San Diego State's win over Colorado State on Nov. 2 in San Diego broke an eight-match losing streak at the hands of the Rams. It was SDSU's first win over CSU since 1996.

FOR THE RECORD
At 11-3, San Diego State's final Mountain West Conference is its best since the 1997 season. That year, the Aztecs finished with the same mark as members of the Western Athletic Conference. They placed second in the WAC that year as well.

The 2002 campaign also marks San Diego State's first 20-win season since 1996 when it compiled a record of 22-11.

The last time the Aztecs won more than 22 matches in a single season was in 1995 when they finished with a record of 27-5.

Since starting the season with a 4-5 record, the Aztecs have gone 17-7. SDSU has won eight of its last 11 matches.

STREAKING
San Diego State's longest win streak this year has been three games, which it has accomplished three times during the year. Its most recent three-match win streak was halted in the semifinal of the MWC Tournament last weekend.

The team's longest losing streak is also three games (in early September).

WHAT'S NEXT FOR SDSU
The Aztecs conclude their regular season with the match at UC Riverside on Nov. 25th.

SDSU will not practice the remainder of this week. They will await word on a possible at-large NCAA Tournament bid. That 2002 tournament field will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 1.

First round NCAA Tournament matches will be held at various campus sites beginning Thursday, Dec. 5.

PLAYER NOTES

Nicole Akporiaye (MB, 6-1, SR., Tucson, Ariz.)
Was moved to a middle blocker role this season after also playing outside hitter the previous three seasons...Named to the 2002 All-Mountain West Conference team...Was injured vs. UNLV on Nov. 9 and missed part of that match plus SDSU's final two contests of the league season last weekend...Ranks fourth in the Mountain West this week in overall hitting percentage (.314) and finished third in league contests only (.329)...Her average of 1.44 blocks per game (for all contests) ranks 20th in the nation and is second in the Mountain West Conference (all games)..Her conference match average of 1.65 bpg led the MWC this season...She was named to the all-tournament team at the Missouri Tiger Invitational in mid-September...She had a career-best 11 block assists in the three-game win over Brigham Young on Sept. 27...With 140 block assists this season, Akporiaye has moved into a tie for the number-five spot on the SDSU single-season list...With 360 block assists in her four seasons at SDSU, she has moved into the number-five spot on the Aztec career top 10 list...Shee needs one more block assist to move up to fourth.

Zlatina Anguelova (OH, 6-1, Jr., Sofia, Bulgaria)
Named to the all-conference team for 2002...SDSU's kill average leader at 3.53 kpg, she is also second in dig average at 2.65 dpg...Missed six matches this season (including two MWC matches and both contests against University of San Diego) due to injuries suffered at Missouri and Colorado State...Her seven kills in the three-game win over Air Force on Nov. 16 broke a string of eight matches in which she had reached double figures in kills...Her 29 kills at New Mexico is a career high and the most for an MWC player in a match this season...The junior from Sofia, Bulgaria has recorded 13 doubles-doubles this season, a figure which ranks third in the Mountain West Conference...She was named to the all-tournament team at the Aston Imua Wahine Challenge in Hawaii.

Melissa Cansdale (OH, 5-11, Jr., Boulder City, Nev.)
Came of the bench in game two vs. Winthrop and went on to record a career-best 16 kills and hit .344 in that match...Her previous high of 15 kills was set during her freshman season (1999) against Northern Arizona...With that performance, she moved into a starting role in SDSU's next two matches at the Black and Gold Challenge at Wake Forest, finishing the tournament with an average of 4.10 kpg, 1.60 dpg and 0.90 bpg...Her season average of 2.65 kpg is fourth-best on the team...Recorded her lone double double of the season at Brigham Young with 10 kills and 11 digs.

Rochelle Currier (OH, 6-0, Sr., Aliso Viejo, Calif.)
Led SDSU with 18 kills in the win over New Mexico at the MWC Tournament...Hit double figures in kills in 11 of SDSU's 14 conference matches...Second on the squad in kill average at 3.26 kpg...Season-best 20 kills vs. UC Irvine...Her 2.44 dig per game mark ranks third as does her 0.20 service aces per game...Was named to the all-tournament team at the Missouri Tiger Invitational.

Kari Dykema (DS, 5-9, Fr., Portage, Mich.)
Back row specialist who has seen action in nine matches...Has played the libero position in a couple of matches...Had seven digs in the match vs. UC Santa Barbara early in the season...Her most recent appearance was in one game during the win at New Mexico on Nov. 15.

Sara Engstrom (S, 5-8, Jr., San Diego, Calif.)
Has come off the bench as a back row player in 29 of SDSU's 33 matches this season...Recorded double figures in digs on three occasions, most recently at Utah on Oct. 25...Had three kills in three attempts vs. Air Force in San Diego on Oct. 18...Sister of volunteer assistant coach and former SDSU men's player John Engstrom

Robyn Gregg (DS, 5-9, Jr., Santee, Calif.)
Leads the conference in total aces with 111 and averaged a league-best 0.70 aces per game in MWC contests...Set the Mountain West Conference record (for all matches and MWC matches only) with nine service aces in the three-game win over Air Force on Oct. 18...It was also a career-high for the junior from Santee, Calif., whose previous best was eight aces vs. Utah in a five-game match in San Diego last season...Owns the Mountain West marks for aces in a season with 79 (all matches) and 40 (conference only), records she set last year.

Aspen McPartland (MB, 6-1, Jr., San Diego, Calif.)
Named the MWC co-Player of the year...Also selected to the 2002 All-MWC Tournament team...In last week's matches at the MWC Tournament, she totaled 26 kills (4.33 kpg), 29 digs (4.83 dpg) and 5 blocks (0.83 bpg) while hitting .400...Her double doubles in the New Mexico (13k/17d) and the Utah match (13k/12d) give her 17 for the season...McPartland's 23 kills against Wyoming on Oct. 31 was a career best...She has also set a personal best in digs this year with 28 digs vs. Colorado State on Oct. 4...That total was also a Mountain West Conference record (since broken)...She was named the MWC Player of the Week on both Sept. 23 and 30, becoming the first player to ever earn the award in back-to-back weeks...She earned all tournament honors at two events this season: the SDSU Ramada Inn Invitational and the Black & Gold Challenge (at Wake Forest)...She was also selected the MVP of the latter tourney.

Kara Moriarty (OH, 6-1, So., Idaho Falls, Idaho)
Appeared in 16 matches this season...Got her first start of the season against Wyoming on Oct. 5, filling in for the injured Zlatina Anguelova...She responded with an eight-kill, nine-dig, three-block performance that was instrumental in the Aztec victory...Had 12 kills and five digs vs. North Carolina State in mid-September.

Natalie Sande (OH, 5-11, Jr., Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.)
Appeared in 11 matches this season after coming to SDSU from University of San Francisco. Played exclusively in the back row...Played three games in the match vs. North Carolina State, finishing with one kill and six digs...Also had three digs vs. UC Irvine...Recorded service aces in two of her first three games as an Aztec.

Megan Schauermann (MB, 6-0, Jr., Vancouver, Wash.)
One of two Aztecs to record at least one block in every match this season...Had a season-high eight blocks (one solo, eight assists) at Air Force on Nov. 16...She is averaging 1.35 blocks a game over SDSU's last eight matches...Her 12 kills against UNLV on Oct. 11 was a season high for the middle blocker from Vancouver, Wash...Her total was one kill short of her SDSU career best of 13 set last season at Wyoming ...She has been in double figures in kills five time this fall, most recently with 10 at New Mexico last week.

Melissa Wright (S, 5-9, Sr., Muncie, Ind.)
Named the 2002 MWC Setter of the Year and All-MWC...Has moved up to second on the SDSU career assist list with 3,826...The top spot is occupied by Andrea Clark (4,916 assists, 1994-97)...Wright's 1,389 assists in 2002 is the fourth-most ever in a season for an Aztec...Wright is also averaging 1.15 kills per game from her setter position and is hitting .374 with only 35 attack errors in 136 games...She recorded her first triple-double as an Aztec in the match at Colorado State on Oct. 4 when she had 11 kills, 51 assists and 12 digs...It is one of only three triple-doubles recorded by Mountain West Conference players this year...She has been named to a pair of all-tournament teams this season: the Ramada Inn Invitational at SDSU and the Black and Gold Challenge at Wake Forest.