Megan Wood, Senior Staff Photographer
The San Diego State volleyball team continued its home dominance this weekend by beating California State University, San Jose in four sets on Thursday night (18-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-13) and on Saturday night taking down the University of Nevada, Reno in five sets (12-25, 25-15, 25-22, 20-25, 15-8).
The Aztecs improved to 10-3 at home and also nabbed head coach Deitre Collins-Parker’s 100th win as an SDSU coach.
“We at times were up and down but in crunch time we pulled together and fought to pull out the win in times where it could have gone either way,” Collins-Parker said.
The loss dropped the Spartans to 4-23 overall and a 1-13 conference record. Meanwhile, Nevada fell to 7-18 overall and a 4-11 Mountain West record.
In the game against the San Jose Spartans, redshirt freshman outside hitter Alexis Cage led the Aztecs with 14 kills and six digs. In addition, freshman setter Courtney Eckenrode recorded her seventh double-double in 2014 with 49 assists and 13 digs. ‘
SDSU came out slow against the Spartans and dropped its first set after it could not recover from an eight-point run by SJSU that made the score 16-8. Even though the Aztecs had three more kills than the Spartans, errors did them in and led them to the 18-25 loss.
The second set saw SDSU come to life and go on two runs for five and six straight points during the game. This led to an easy 25-12 victory to even up that match at one set apiece.
The third set was the most competitive set over the course of the match but with the score close at 20-18, SDSU rattled off five of the final six points to secure the victory. The Aztecs hit for an impressive .484 hit percentage in the hard fought set.
The final set of the day saw SDSU start to slowly slip away at the beginning of the set before a six-point run blew the game wide open. SDSU went on to win the set and match by a score of 25-13.
On Saturday evening, the Aztecs faced a Nevada team who had previously beat them earlier in the season. Wanting payback, the Aztecs were poised to use their home court advantage to pull out the victory.
SDSU came out very flat and lost the first set by 13 points after an injury to Eckenrode, who has certainly been one of the key players all year long. However, Eckenrode was able to come back in the second set and that seemed to be the spark that the Aztecs needed as they would go on to win that set by a score of 25-15.
The third set was a close affair with each team not separated by more than a few points for the duration of the set. SDSU managed to get three straight points late in the set and that was all it would need to hold on to a 25-22 victory.
The fourth set was more of the same but with an opposite result. The set remained close throughout but five straight late Nevada points gave them the advantage they would need to win the set and even the match at two sets apiece.
In the deciding fifth set, the Aztecs used three three-point runs to jump out to a 9-3 advantage. That would be all they needed and were able to cruise to a seven-point victory to win the match.
“I would like to win the first set but it is comforting to know that losing the first game is not an determining the outcome for us,” Collins-Parker said.
The game was a solid team effort considering that four different Aztecs ended the night with double figures in kills. Also a gritty performance was put in by Eckenrode, who despite being injured in the first set, still managed to record 42 assists.
“With the young team that we are, finishing in the top half with the ups and downs that we had really finishes the season on a positive note,” Collins-Parker said. “Finishing above .500 would be a really awesome goal right now.”
Only three games remain in the 2014 campaign for the Aztecs with two of those being on the road, where the Aztecs have struggled all year long. They will see if they can turn their bad road luck around when travel to Idaho to face Boise State on Wednesday, Nov. 19.