San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Volleyball finishes 1-2 at the Hotel Rose City Showdown to open 2023

The Aztecs start the season with a win before falling to defeat over the next two games
Eric Evelhoch
San Diego State outside hitter Heipua Tautua’a leaps to attack in a match against Air Force last season at Peterson Gym. Tautua’a is one of three seniors and 10 players returning from the 2022-23 squad.

Volleyball season is here!

The Aztecs started their season off at Viking Pavilion at Portland State University. There, they played three games during the Hotel Rose City Showdown, coming out victorious over their first opponent, Cal State Fullerton, before concluding their weekend on a sour note, taking defeats against both Kansas State and Portland State. 

Friday, Aug. 25: San Diego State 3, Cal State Fullerton 1 

With the win, SDSU won its fifth straight game against the Titans dating back to 2011. They also raised their record to 47-5 in the all-time series since 1976. The Aztecs maintained an advantage in kills, digs and total blocks to lead the Scarlet and Black to a win. SDSU’s defense also held Fullerton to a .090 hitting percentage for the afternoon, together with a minus-.179 clip in the fourth set. 

In the opening set, both teams fought through four ties before the Titans scored three consecutive points to break a 16-16 deadlock to take the lead. Lyla Traylor, Fullerton outside hitter, floored a shot while libero Ashley Chacon served an ace before SDSU committed an attack error. While trailing 19-16, the Aztecs slimmed the deficit down to two points on five possessions down the end. Fullerton clinched the set after a put away from outside hitter Laura Williams. 

The second stanza was back and forth as both teams saw a combined four early ties and three changes. Falling behind 9-8, the Scarlet and Black fired back with outside hitter Cara Braun blasting a kill. Outside hitter Heipua Tautua’a shortly followed with back-to-back non-returnables to get the Aztecs back in the lead and have a 17-10 closing end. 

San Diego State was in control throughout the third frame of action, nearly collapsing before coming out of the set on top. A quick and swift kill from setter Fatimah Hall gave SDSU a secure 24-20 lead. The Titans, however, came back quickly, scoring five straight points to give Fullerton a 25-24 lead. The Aztecs weren’t finished yet as middle blocker Kat Cooper and outside hitter Taylor Underwood combined on a block that was followed by a kill from Tautua’a to put the lead back to SDSU 26-25. 

Both teams traded scores in the next six serves until outside hitter Madison Corf came up with a clutch put-away for a clinching point of 30-28. Corf had five kills total in the marathon set, while middle hitter Julia Haynie made four of seven shots in that time. By the time the fourth stanza came around, San Diego State posted a match-best .304 team hitting percentage, following 12 kills on 23 swings, and five errors. The Aztecs came to benefit from Fullerton’s 10 attack errors to come out on top. 

Saturday, Aug. 26: San Diego State 0, Kansas State 3 

The Scarlet and Black were led by Tautua’a in this game, who totaled nine kills to go along with five digs and two service aces. Kat Cooper notched five put-aways of her own off .455 efficiency. Hall and setter Sarena Gonzalez shared assists with Hall collecting 13, and Gonzalez with 12. Middle blocker Elly Scharaeder tallied five kills to add to her two-block assists. 

The Aztecs couldn’t find their footing early as they combined for only 15 kills and a .120 hitting percentage within the first two sets before finding life in the third and final stanzas of the match. 

In the third set, both teams combined for six lead changes and 14 ties. Tautua’a shot through five of her kills in the frame while Corf and Cooper launched three non-returnables each. Kansas State hammered out a series of four-point leads down the stretch, notably a 22-18 spread that was followed by an SDSU service error. The Aztecs fought back with a 6-1 outburst to come out with a 24-23 lead. Cooper served two aces as well as knocked down a kill shortly after an ace from Tautua’a.

The momentum quickly was halted by two kills from K-State outside hitter Aliyah Carter, but Corf fought back to tie the score 25-25. The Aztecs weren’t able to keep the upper hand as Kansas State floored a shot and a block for the clinching point. 

Sunday, Aug. 27: San Diego State 0, Portland State 3 

The opening set had teams combining for six lead changes and 10 ties. Corf took the spotlight in the opening set notching five of her kills in the frame to go along with two blocks and a solo stop. The score was later tied up 20-20, but SDSU’s momentum fell down the stretch, committing three service errors, notably an error on the final serve to give the set over to Portland State. The Vikings contributed a solo block from outside hitter Sophia Myers, as well as a late kill from middle blocker Lauryn Anderson. 

By the second stanza, the Aztecs advanced to a 6-2 lead, in part from two non-returnables apiece from Corf and Cooper, while defensive specialist McKenna Douglas added an ace. PSU put momentum back on their side going on a 12-4 run, and adding a 15-10 advantage after outside hitter Jasmine Powell had several consecutive kills. SDSU narrowed the gap down to two points, including a Corf put-away to an 18-16 spread. The Aztecs weren’t able to keep ahead as the Vikings closed with a 7-6 run. 

Four aces and four attack errors hurt the Scarlet and Black even when holding a 16-14 edge in kills over the Vikings during the stretch. The Aztecs weren’t able to consistently attack in the third frame, being in an 0-2 deficit. They posted a 0.97 efficiency on 11 kills against eight errors in 31 attempts. Haynie shot through four of her seven shots in the set while Cooper and junior outside hitter Mikela Labno had two kills apiece. 

With SDSU in a slim 12-10 lead, the Vikings shot right back in the lead following a fallable Aztec serve, a Meyers ace, and a combined block from PSU. Still, San Diego State was within striking distance as Labno’s kill trimmed the deficit to 16-15. Portland State, however, scored three consecutive points to spark a 9-4 run. The Vikings took advantage of three unforced Aztec attack errors, as well as a mishandled ball near the finish.

San Diego State returns home next weekend to host the SDSU Invitational Aug. 31- Sept. 2, at Aztec Court at Peterson Gym. The Aztecs will host No. 9 Oregon University, Pepperdine, and UC Santa Barbara on consecutive days.   




About the Contributors
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.
Eric Evelhoch
Eric Evelhoch, '23-24 Sports Editor
Eric Evelhoch (he/him/his) is a senior media studies major who was born outside of Detroit, Michigan, and lived in Ventura County, California, for a decade-plus. He is a returning college student and transfer from Santa Barbara City College, where he served as Sports Editor for The Channels. Evelhoch is also a Sports Director for KCR College Radio, where he restarted play-by-play coverage post-pandemic. Currently, he serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for the SDSU ACHA DI hockey team and has filled in on the call for Aztecs sports on the Mountain West Network. His prior freelance experience includes print, digital, online video and audio-only, and broadcast radio formats covering football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer and volleyball.