Aztecs drop three sets to Toreros

by Jack Haworth, Staff Writer

After eight days off, the San Diego State volleyball team returned to the court Tuesday night to face its crosstown rival, the No. 19-ranked University of San Diego Toreros.

The young Aztec team put up a strong fight but in the end, the Toreros were too much for the Aztecs and won in three sets (25-21, 26-24, 25-19) at Peterson Gym.

“Tons of effort and great heart,” assistant coach Kevin Campbell said. “But the execution of skills is where we fell short.”

The Aztecs were led by strong performances by senior Chloe Mathis and junior Ciara Brown. Mathis, the senior setter, recorded 25 of the team’s 30 assists in addition to 10 digs. Meanwhile, Brown finished with the most Aztec kills at nine, as well as a .467 hitting percentage.

“Overall we executed offensively pretty well,” Campbell said.

Redshirt freshman middle blocker Cassie O’Hara also turned in a nice performance during her first career start as an Aztec. She ended the night with six kills and two digs.

In the first set, the Toreros came charging out of the gates. The teams split the first two points of the game before USD went on a 6-0 run to make it 7-1.

The Aztecs kept chipping away at the lead and even came within two points late in the game to make the score 18-20. However, after two consecutive kills by USD’s Canace Finley, the Toreros ended up pulling away for the 25-21 victory.

The second set was by far the best set of the night. SDSU jumped out to a 5-1 lead before the Toreros began to slowly eat away at the deficit before tying the score at 16 apiece.

The two teams traded points until USD went on a 3-0 run to make the score 18-21. The Aztecs were not done yet and after facing two straight set points, managed to tie the score at 24. Then a Torero kill by senior Alaysia Brown and a SDSU attack error sealed the set victory for the Toreros at 24-26.

“It burns,” Mathis said. “And you have to remember this every day in practice and work even harder every day in the heat to get better. Every rep remember what this feels like and don’t ever let it happen again.”

In the final set of the night, the teams battled to a 9-9 gridlock before the young Aztec squad made four straight attack errors to give a 13-9 advantage to the Toreros. SDSU never could recover from the errors and ended up dropping the set by a score of 25-19.

“It is hard when you have someone so young,” Mathis said. “They’re all ballers and we love our team. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The Aztecs will now travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the Crimson-White Tournament on Sept. 19 and 20 against Clemson University and the University of Alabama, respectively.