SDSU struggles at Spartan Invitational

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Senior outside hitter Alexis Cage (18) and junior middle blocker Deja Harris (15) go up for blocks during a match in 2016.

by Sydney Northcutt, Contributor

San Diego State’s volleyball team traveled to East Lansing, Michigan this weekend to battle at the Spartan Invitational.

The Aztecs posted a 1-2 record at the tournament, contributing to an overall record of 2-4 on the season.

SDSU started on Friday with a 3-0 loss to the no. 23 ranked home team, Michigan State University. MSU featured a tall front row which proved to be difficult for the Aztecs to handle. The Spartans outblocked SDSU 10-4 and posted early leads that the Aztecs could not overcome. The Spartans would go on to win the tournament, taking home the Spartan Invitational title.

The Aztecs swept Texas A&M-Corpus Christi later Friday night with a 3-0 win. With set wins of 25-19, 25-18, and 25-18, consistency proved to be key, head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said.

“It’s all about how we start the game. If we start out and we are in control of the match from the beginning we tend to play well,” Collins-Parker said.

Senior outside hitter Alexis Cage echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“We went out there on the offensive, we controlled the pace of the match and executed. We sided out really quickly and didn’t allow them to get strings of points on us,” Cage said.

SDSU posted an impressive season-high hitting percentage against TAMU-CC at .344 combined with eight service aces. Senior defensive specialist Devyn Pritchard held down the back row with a season-high 16 digs while junior middle blocker Deja Harris and senior opposite hitter Baylee Little dominated the front row with 10 kills each thanks to sets from junior setter Indigo Thompson and freshman setter Gabi Peoples.

On Saturday SDSU finished off the tournament with a tough loss to Marshall in three sets. The Scarlet and Black crawled back furiously in the third set only to fall 28-30 after Marshall rallied off three straight points to close out the match.

Collins-Parker echoed her earlier statement about the importance of earning the first few points in the game.

“Marshall came out quick, we were on the defensive the whole time,” Collins-Parker said.

As for the tournament and the beginning of the season as a whole, Collins-Parker is optimistic.

“We’re just still in the state of figuring out the right combination, the right line-up,” Collins-Parker said. “We have all the talent that we need. Once we get a set lineup and are playing it everyday our confidence will build.”

Cage is also excited for the season and described her goals for the season.

“We are just continuing to work to be the Mountain West Conference champion team we know we have the potential to be,” Cage said. “Focusing on execution and maintaining a high competitive level in the gym is going to be key.”

Collins-Parker noted that upsets are happening across the nation, so the playing field is wide open.

The Aztecs will be looking to keep things interesting this season and in the near future at the JLABS Challenge, Sept. 8 and 9, at Aztec Court.

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