Women’s Volleyball finish homestand with close loss over Fresno State


Tania Gallardo Avalos

Senior setter Noa Miller (19) sets up a play against Air Force on Oct. 2.

by Sumaia Wegner, Contributor

A fight to the fifth set ended with a narrow defeat for San Diego State’s women’s volleyball (5-12, 2-3 Mountain West Conference) to close out their season-long homestand. The Scarlet and Black played ferociously, but in the end got bit by Fresno State’s Bulldogs (6-6, 2-2 MWC) in a 3-2 loss at the Peterson Gym. 

Together, the two teams made for 25 ties and 10 lead changes. The Aztecs outhit the Bulldogs with kills (62-56) and digs (74-56), but that was not enough as the Bulldogs took their third consecutive win in conference play with sets two, four, and five.

The first set started and ended with kills made by freshman outside hitter Mikela Labno. Labno contributed a total of 12 kills in the entire game, coming in as the second scoring leader after senior Victoria O’Sullivan (17). Senior Andrea Walker came in third with eight kills. 

Set three was also dominated by the Aztecs, where they kept the lead the entire period.

Overall the team played incredible defense, a thought head coach Brent Hillard said he agreed with when asked how his players did. Sophomore Heipua Tautua’a (17), senior  Natalie Smith (15), senior Noa Miller (13) and sophomore Kennedy Feuerborn (10) contributed double digits in digs.

Along with her digs, Noa Miller contributed 27 assists. This is the second game in a row where she scored double-doubles. She also had six kills, an above-average number for a setter. Freshman opposite hitter Jordyn Goldsmith led the team in high blocks with five, including a solo stop. 

The Bulldogs barked their way into this win. They challenged multiple calls throughout the game and were awarded three points due to ball-handling errors. Coach Hillard had also noted that points were lost due to the teams’ technical mistakes. 

Redshirt senior outside hitter Savanah Smith, junior outside hitter Amaria Kelley and redshirt senior outside hitter Desiree Sukhov were the top contributors for Fresno State and led them to their ultimate victory.

Injuries have affected this team and when asked how this altered the game, Labno said, “It did hurt us a bit in the beginning, but the other players are stepping up and doing what they need to do, which helped us.” 

“We have to not slip up when it matters and keep pushing all the way to the end,” Labno said when asked how the Aztecs will ensure future wins.

With this mentality and a new gameplay strategy in the works,  the Aztecs will be ready to face Boise State next Thursday, Oct. 14 at an away game. 

The next home game for the Aztecs is on Oct. 21 against Colorado State at Peterson Gym. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive a free Aztec Volleyball shirt.