SDSU has tough time in Tuscaloosa

by Jack Haworth, Staff Writer

The San Diego State volleyball team finished off non-conference play this past weekend going 1-2 in the Crimson-White Tournament in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

On Friday, the Aztecs lost to the Clemson University Tigers in three sets (25-18, 25-21, 25-21) and also to the University of Alabama Crimson Tide in four sets (25-20, 19-25, 25-21, 25-11). However, SDSU salvaged a win on Saturday afternoon against Florida International University in three sets (25-11, 27-25, 25-20).

The Aztecs overall record now stands at 4-6 with three of those victories coming in the Aztec Invitational.

SDSU faced Clemson on Friday afternoon as its first game of the weekend. The Aztecs were able to keep all three matches close but never secured a set victory.

The loss was in large part due to SDSU’s inability to establish its hitting game, only able to mustering  .088 percentage in that department. The top scoring Aztecs in the game were juniors Ciara Brown, Kaja Sandberg and senior Chaiymin Steel who all recorded seven kills against the Tigers.

A few hours later, it was time for SDSU to face the hosting school, Alabama, in front of a healthy crowd of 1,053 people. The Aztecs showed more life in this game but walked off the court with another loss.

SDSU was not able to create enough offense to win the first set of the match but came out determined in the second set. The Aztecs offense came alive with an impressive .317 hitting percentage to take the second set and even up the match at one set a piece.

The third set of the match saw the SDSU women try to keep pace with Alabama but ultimately fell just a few points short. The Aztecs only hit an abysmal .182 in the fourth set against Alabama which led to a lopsided loss, securing the match victory for Alabama.

Brown put up good numbers against Alabama by leading the Aztecs with 12 kills in addition to a block assist and two digs.

The freshmen also turned in solid performances. Freshman setter Courtney Eckenrode recorded a season personal-best 40 assists and redshirt freshman Alexa Saba ended the match with a personal high 17 digs.

On Saturday, SDSU was able to put an end to its three-game losing streak by downing Florida International in three straight sets.

Junior outside hitter Halle Aiken turned in a strong performance by leading the Aztecs with 14 kills and a double-double with 12 digs. Eckenrode built on her performance the night before by turning in her first career double-double with 35 assists, 12 digs and a pair of kills.

The Aztecs dominated the first set going on an 8-0 run to make the score 17-3 before cruising to an easy victory.

The second set was by far the closest contest and went right down to the wire. SDSU was down 24-23 before Eckenrode made a crucial kill allowing the Aztecs to come back and win by two.

The third and final set saw SDSU jump out to an early lead before FIU brought it back within one at 20-19. However, the Aztecs were then able to win five of the last six points to secure the match victory.

On Sept. 27 the Aztecs will open up conference play at home against California State University, Fresno.