SDSU tops Cowgirls, drops match to Rams

by Jack Haworth, Staff Writer

The San Diego State volleyball team played in two hard-fought battles at home over the weekend and came away even.

The Aztecs lost to No. 7 Colorado State University Rams in five sets (25-15, 23-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-5) on Thursday night at Aztec Court but beat the University of Wyoming Cowgirls in five sets (25-14, 15-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-8) on Saturday afternoon.

SDSU’s record now stands at 11-11 and 6-5 in Mountain West play. Meanwhile the Rams extended their 19-match winning streak while the Cowgirls saw their six-match win streak come to an end.

Colorado State started out very strong in the first set of the match and used 17 kills to cruise to an easy 10-point victory. In the second set SDSU would find some life to battle through and get the victory.

The set saw the two teams not separated by more than a point for the majority of the time. However, the Aztecs managed to get two straight points after the score was tied at 23 to claim a two-point victory.

During the third set, SDSU used five straight late points and a .053 attack percentage by the Rams to win the set and take a 2-1-match lead. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that is where they seemed to have run out of steam.

Colorado State led the fourth set for a majority of the competition. While the Aztecs were able to pull within one at 18-17, they would not score another point as the Rams forced a fifth set with an eight-point victory.

The Rams, who were helped by an eight-point run, dominated the fifth set. SDSU only mustered three kills and a -.125 hit percentage in the final set of the match.

Senior right-side hitter Chaiymin Steel and redshirt freshman outside hitter Alexis Cage led all Aztecs with 12 kills. In addition, freshman setter Courtney Eckenrode had a strong game by recording her fifth double-double of the season with 44 assists and 14 digs.

Saturday night featured another tough fought five-set match for the Aztecs. The only difference was that this time SDSU would come away with the win.

The first set of the night started close but the Aztecs would go on a six-point run to break free and cruise to an 11-point victory. The second set would see the Cowgirls dominate the second half and eventually tally a 10-point win to even the match.

Set three was a close affair with the score eventually being knotted at 20 points apiece. Luckily for the Aztecs, they got a run at just the right time by scoring four straight points en route to the victory.

The Cowgirls were not ready to give up quite yet though. In set four they took an early lead and continued to build on it on the way to a six-point victory.

That of course would force the final and match-deciding fifth set. The Aztecs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the set and never looked back going on to a seven-point victory.

Cage continued her impressive season by recording 19 total kills, the most by any Aztec this season. Steel also matched her career high with 15 kills and Eckenrode notched her sixth double-double of the year with 47 assists and 13 digs.

Up next for SDSU will be a two-game conference road trip, which will begin when the Aztecs face Air Force Academy on Thursday, Oct. 6 in Colorado Springs.