Freshman Shines in Win, Despite Inexperience

by Staff

Whoever said that a lack of experience makes you less qualifiedfor a job was full of it.

Obviously, that person never watched the San Diego Statevolleyball team or he’d be questioning the validity of thatstatement.

In a four-day span, SDSU saw some of its finest individualperformances of the season, two by freshman.

Monday’s hero against Northern Arizona was an unlikely one.Unlikely because she had only seen action in one match thus far.

“This was only my second match of the year,” said an estaticMelissa Cansdale. “I was really nervous but I calmed down because myfriends were here and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.”

Cansdale hardly embarrassed herself, notching a career-high 15kills and posting a .371 hit percentage as the Aztecs rallied from animprobable deficit for a five-set victory (12-15, 9-15, 15-7, 15-9,and 15-12).

Said Jamie Evans: “Melissa stepped up and did exactly what weneeded her to do. She was amazing.”

With SDSU already trailing by one game, Cansdale entered thesecond game with the Lumberjacks holding a 13-2 lead. But the Aztecsrallied scoring seven points before falling 15-9.

SDSU kept up the intensity storming out of the game for an 11-1lead in game three. In the game Cansdale had five kills including theAztecs’ first and last points in the 15-7 win.

“We needed to get into that rotation,” said SDSU head coach MarkWarner. “We were much better with her (Cansdale) in the front row.”

In the fourth game, SDSU grabbed an 11-6 lead only to see itshrink to 11-9. But the Aztecs ran off four points, including killsby Melissa Dickson (61 assists) and Erin Grady (14 kills), to win15-9 and force the rally-formatted fifth game.

An early 7-4 deficit in the final game was nothing that SDSUcouldn’t handle as it rallied back for six straight points behindEvans. The senior had a big kill and tough serving to give the Aztecsa 10-7 lead.

For the evening, Evans tied her career-high with 19 kills andadded 13 digs for her seventh double-double of the season.

The Lumberjacks rallied to take a 12-11 lead, but again, SDSUrefused to give in.

Behind Grady and senior Lisa Bostian, the Aztecs scored four in arow for the win. Grady tied the game with a soaring kill. SDSU thenforged ahead 13-12 on a kill from Bostian, and the two combined for ablock to make it 14-12. Once again the duo was at it on the finalpoint as Bostian set up Grady for the winning kill.

Over the weekend the Aztecs fell twice, both in Mountain WestConference play. Freshman Nicole Akporiaye had an outstandingperformance in Friday’s 6-15, 15-11, 2-15, 14-16 loss at Air Force,posting a career-high 17 kills and a .387 hitting percentage. Thefreshman also added a solo block and two block assists.

Saturday’s contest at New Mexico saw the two teams combine for anunbelievable 171 digs. Jamie Evans posted a career-high 19 kills and19 digs, but it wasn’t enough in the end as New Mexico held on for a5-15, 15-11, 12-15, and 5-15 win.

By the numbers

5 — Aztecs that posted double figures in digs against New Mexico:Evans (19), Magnuson (15), Hallquist (12), Dinardo (11), Allen (10)

17 — service aces allowed by the Aztecs over the weekend in MWCplay

19.92 — digs per game averaged by Northern Arizona, ranking fifthin the nation

46 — kills by Evans over the three-game span (3.5 kpg)

61– career-high assist count for sophomore Melissa Dickson inMonday’s win over Northern Arizona