Volleyball snaps two-game skid in conference victory over New Mexico

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Volleyball snaps two-game skid in conference victory over New Mexico

San Diego State senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a spike during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over New Mexico on Oct. 5 at Peterson Gym.

San Diego State senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a spike during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over New Mexico on Oct. 5 at Peterson Gym.

Alexa Oslowski

San Diego State senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a spike during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over New Mexico on Oct. 5 at Peterson Gym.

Alexa Oslowski

Alexa Oslowski

San Diego State senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a spike during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over New Mexico on Oct. 5 at Peterson Gym.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

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San Diego State volleyball beat New Mexico in four sets (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21) on Saturday Oct. 5 at Peterson Gym.

Head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said the team, coming off two losses, needed to rebound.

“Anytime we have a loss, it’s an opportunity to learn and we felt like we could raise our level of intensity,” she said. “We came out a lot more focused (and had) a desire to win.”

Collins-Parker said she is starting to learn what options they have four games into Mountain West Conference play.

One of those options who has emerged is junior outside hitter Erin Gilchrist.

Collins-Parker said Gilchrist was a key player for SDSU (9-6, 2-2 MWC) against the Lobos (5-11, 0-4 MWC).

“Erin really stepped up on the right side, being able to block and hit,” Collins-Parker said. “That was important for us. She hit (.409) and led to run on passing and we did a good job.”

The 6-foot-1 junior recorded 11 kills with a .409 hitting percentage and defensively, posted four block assists.

Gilchrist said the team’s energy level started in practice on Friday.

“We run a fast offense (to) get past those blockers as fast as we can,” she said. “Today and (Friday) in practice, we stressed getting on top of the ball, running tempo with our setters and communicating some different plays.”

The change in offense helped SDSU as Gilchrist was one of four players to post 10 or more kills.

Senior middle blocker Tamia Reeves (10 kills), senior outside Hannah Turnlund (team-high 13 kills) and sophomore outside hitter Victoria O’Sullivan (12 kills) were the others to record more than 10.

In addition to O’Sullivan’s dozen kills, she had two solo blocks and a block assist.

O’Sullivan said it was key to have her and her three other teammates record 10 or more kills.

“It’s good having multiple people feeding points for our team,” O’Sullivan said.

Defensively, SDSU had junior libero Loren Teter (game-high 13 digs) and junior defensive specialist Sam McGrath (11 digs) to record 10 or more digs.

SDSU also changed its back row positioning by moving Teter to the left and inserting McGrath into the middle.

Collins-Parker said McGrath, who posted a season-high 11 digs, gives the team more opportunities in the back of the defense.

“Sam was really solid today,” Collins-Parker said. “(She was) able to step up into that middle back position. She served well and did a good job passing. It’s about options and being able to move people where we think we need them most.”

The Aztecs play four straight road games, beginning with Wyoming (8-7, 3-1 MWC) on Thursday Oct. 10. The Aztecs return home on Oct. 24 when they face Boise State at Peterson Gym.

Gilchrist said it was important to get a win before going on the road.

“We needed that confidence before heading out of our gym” she said. “It is always harder on the road and you don’t have people cheering for you, so that was something that we needed just to be confident heading into these away matches.”

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