The Daily Aztec

Volleyball takes two home wins over Boise, Utah

Senior+libero+Devyn+Pritchard+rises+for+a+serve+during+SDSU%27s+loss+to+Loyola+Marymount+on+Sept.+8.
Senior libero Devyn Pritchard rises for a serve during SDSU's loss to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8.

Senior libero Devyn Pritchard rises for a serve during SDSU's loss to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8.

Photo by Weicheng Han

Photo by Weicheng Han

Senior libero Devyn Pritchard rises for a serve during SDSU's loss to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8.

by Sydney Northcutt, Staff Writer

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San Diego State volleyball started the second half of Mountain West play at home this weekend against Boise State University and Utah State University.

SDSU earned a five-set win over Boise State on Thursday (20-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-19, 15-10) and another win against Utah State (25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-14).

After the two matches the Aztecs moved to 11-12 on the season and 5-5 in conference play.

The Boise State matchup featured a rare five-set comeback win for the Aztecs, who had previously been winless in all matches when trailing 2-0.

Despite trailing by two sets, the match stood out to senior outside hitter Alexis Cage as one of the best showings the Aztecs have had all season.

“I feel like we have had some games where we played some great volleyball and games where pieces of our play struggled,” Cage said, “But I think this game was the best all-around game we have played this year in conference.”

Many Aztecs recorded their personal season highs and both Cage (16 kills, 13 digs) and sophomore outside hitter Ashlynn Dunbar (13 kills, 13 digs) recorded double-doubles. Junior middle blocker Deja Harris totaled a season high of 18 kills while her fellow middle blocker senior Baylee Little recorded her own season high of 13 kills.

Freshman setter Gabi Peoples continued to add on to her career high of assists, this game extending the number to 62. Senior libero Devyn Pritchard anchored the back row with a season high of 33 digs.

The first and second sets were similar, with many lead changes and ties highlighting the two SDSU losses. Boise State’s junior outside hitter Sabryn Roberts’ jump topspin serve and directional hitting proved difficult for the Aztecs to handle in the first two sets.

However, coming out of the locker room the Aztecs looked all but defeated.

SDSU and Boise battled at the beginning of the third set, with neither team able to get a lead on the other. Midway into the third set however the Scarlet and Black began to pull away, securing a lead for good and keeping the match alive by winning their first set of the night.

The fourth set again started off back and forth before SDSU went on a closing run to end the set.

In such close sets the momentum shifts and deciding factors tend to be the hustle points, which the Aztecs proved to be the winners of in this match.

“Being able to capitalize on hustle plays was really important for us,” Cage said, “It helped us in controlling the momentum of the game especially when we were going point for point.”

SDSU forced a deciding fifth set with a 25-19 win in the fourth stanza.

The Broncos struggled against an Aztec offense in the fifth set featuring a .562 hitting percentage. Harris was dominant at the net with three kills in the 4-1 run that ultimately secured the win. SDSU took a 9-6 lead and pushed forward to win the set 15-10 and complete the thrilling comeback.

SDSU opened the Utah State matchup much stronger, winning the first set.

The difference in the set came down to blocking, in which Harris and Little earned the win at the net.  

Harris had back-to-back blocks at the beginning of the second set as well, putting more pressure on the Aggies’ hitters. The Aztecs also capitalized off of USU errors, getting out to a 9-3 lead in the second set which prompted a Utah State timeout. The Aggies staged a mini comeback of their own towards the end of the second set, narrowing the score to 24-23. However sophomore outside hitter Hannah Turnlund squashed the comeback with a kill to win the set.

It was the Aggies who came out with the upperhand out of the locker room, getting a quick 5-2 lead thanks to multiple net violations by the Aztecs.

Boise continued to build on their lead, never letting the Aztecs get ahead in the fourth stanza and ultimately keeping their fate alive with a 25-21 win in the third set.

The Aztecs came out fighting in the fourth set, getting out to an early 4-1 lead off a Cage kill. SDSU continued to extend its lead, never letting USU come close.

SDSU won the set 25-14 to even their Mountain West record to 5-5.

SDSU will compete next at University of Nevada, Reno on Thursday, Oct. 26.

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