Aztecs upset Rams, fall to Cowgirls


by Livvi Sefton

The San Diego State volleyball team concluded its 2013 campaign by handing No. 9 Colorado State University its first loss of the season 3-2 before suffering a loss to the University of Wyoming 3-1.

The Aztecs dropped the first two sets in Fort Collins, Colo. last Wednesday, but then refocused and reeled off wins in the final three sets to stun the Rams in set scores of 15-25, 18-25, 25-21, 27-25 and 15-13. The upset ends Colorado’s 27-game winning streak.

Senior middle blocker Emily Harris said the team knew they could play better than they were after the first two sets. The Aztecs changed the lineup after the two opening sets, leaving the Rams not knowing what to expect.

[quote]“Our intensity turned up 10 notches,” Harris said. “As a team, we decided not to lose and didn’t expect anything less.”[/quote]

Senior outside hitters Summer Nash and Raegan Shelton led the Aztecs with 16 and 15 kills respectively. Junior outside hitter Chaiymin Steel added 10 kills and a team-high five blocks, while freshman middle blocker Baylee Little was the fourth Aztec to record double figures in kills with 10 as well.

Defensively, senior libero Christie Ring had 17 digs for the Aztecs and senior defensive specialist Kyla Oropeza added six digs and a pair of service aces. Senior setter Johnna Fouch recorded 52 saves, which marks her third highest of the season.

Harris said the team knew it was better than the Rams, but the win enabled it to prove to everyone else.

[quote]“It felt absolutely amazing,” Harris said. “And beating them at home was extra good because they believed they were giants compared to us. I believe giants are meant to be slain.”[/quote]

The Aztecs had Thanksgiving Day to let their win sink in before falling to the Cowgirls on the road in set scores of 22-25, 21-25, 20-25 and 22-25.

Harris and Shelton lead all Aztecs in kills with 13 each. Harris also contributed five blocks while Shelton ended with five digs and three blocks. The defensive leaders for the Aztecs were sophomore outside hitter Halle Aiken with 14 digs and Ring with 12.

Fouch finished a stellar four-year campaign with 52 assists, eight digs, three kills, two blocks and a service ace.

The game marked the last time the eight Aztec seniors would play together.

[quote]“I was very emotional,” Harris said. “I approached this match as something I wanted people to remember, how I wanted to be remembered as a player. And I wanted to just enjoy being on the court with my sisters for the last time.”[/quote]

The defending conference champions end the season in fifth place in the final Mountain West Conference standings, with an overall 16-14 record and 11-9 in conference play.

Despite their loss to the Aztecs, the Rams stayed at the top of the standings to take the conference championship. The University of New Mexico finished second and Utah State University came in third.

Photo by Wesley Beights, Staff Photographer

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