SDSU Volleyball’s young team prevail in the San Diego State Invitational

The Aztecs kicked off their season by winning two out of their three matches.


Parker St. Germaine

Senior Kayla Rivera jumps for a spike against UC Berkeley during the San Diego State Invitational, Aug. 26, 2022.

by Jayden Hanzy, Staff Writer

San Diego State volleyball (2-1) commenced their season by winning two out of three games this past weekend at the SDSU Invitational. Despite losing their first game, the Aztecs rallied back and showed the potential their young team has this year. 

Throughout the weekend, the Aztecs lost to UC Berkeley (2-1) with a score of 0-3, and beat both Army West Point (0-3) and UC San Diego (2-1) with a score of 3-1. 

The weekend was filled with high energy gameplay which made for a very exciting tournament. The Scarlet and Black showed resilience after losing their first game on Aug. 26 and winning their next two on Aug. 27. 

“That speaks more to the individuals, they’re really good kids and a really young team, so a lot of the time we have five freshmen on the court,” Head Coach Brent Hilliard said about his team’s high energy throughout the weekend. “They’re just not jaded. They love playing the sport and they’re happy to be here at San Diego State.”

Coming off of a season where the Aztecs finished 8-22 and won only five games in the Mountain West Conference, the Aztecs are looking to their younger players to carry the load for them this year. With only three seniors on the team, the underclassmen will be relied on more than ever. 

“The thing that stands out is that all of these games are competitive. It doesn’t matter if that team was all juniors or seniors, or Cal that was mostly upperclassmen, they (the underclassmen) are playing right there with them already,” Hillaird said.  

Perhaps the biggest key to SDSU’s success this weekend was junior Heipua Tautua’a. Within those three games, she finished with a combined 34 kills and really helped her teammates get comfortable playing in a competitive setting. 

“Let go of the plays that you miss on. There is always another play, a next game, a next set,” Tautua’a said when asked how she keeps her younger teammates motivated. “I like to give good feedback, because if I yell at them, they are probably going to feel down.”

The Aztecs’ season is just getting started and it will be interesting to see if they can improve upon the work they did last year. Like always, the MWC tournament will be something to look forward to, but before that, SDSU will play top-notch non-conference teams such as UC Santa Barbara and UC Los Angeles. 

The Aztecs will return to the court on Sep. 2 to play against No. Baylor. It will be interesting to see how the Scarlet and Black hold their own against a ranked team as the underclassmen will be presented with the opportunity to gain experience playing against competitive teams.