Falcons, Lobos maul Aztecs on road

by Jack Haworth, Staff Writer

The San Diego State women’s volleyball team returned home this week after a rough road trip last weekend. On Thursday, Nov. 6, the Aztecs lost to Air Force Academy in three straight sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-18) and two days later they dropped their match against University of New Mexico in four sets (18-25, 17-25, 25-23, 21-25).

“Our team has just not been good on the road period and that is something we really need to get better at as a team,” SDSU volleyball head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said.

The match against Air Force was particularly disappointing for the Aztecs who had previously won the past eight matches against the Falcons. That included a three set victory for the Aztecs when the two teams faced off on Aztec Court earlier this season.

“The match against Air Force was very disappointing as we did not show up at all,” Collins-Parker said.

The losses dropped the Aztecs overall record to 11-13, and 6-7 in Mountain West play. They also slipped down to the number seven spot in the standings out of 11 teams.

“These girls have a competitive nature and they want to be good, they know this is not what Aztec volleyball is about, we are not here to lose,” Collins-Parker said.

In the match against Air Force, SDSU only managed to hit .080 throughout the entire game. Junior Halle Aiken led the Aztecs with 10 kills and was the only SDSU player in double digits in that category.

The first set saw the Falcons jump out to a 4-2 advantage and continued to build on that on the way to an eight-point victory. The second set was closer as the Aztecs got within one point at 23-22. However, two consecutive SDSU hitting errors ended the match.

In the final set, the Aztecs remained flat as Air Force went on a run to go up 9-4. They would continue to expand their lead throughout the set and eventually won by seven points.

Two days later, SDSU had to face a very strong New Mexico team in Albuquerque. Despite junior outside hitter Halle Aiken putting up a career best 20 kills, the Aztecs were simply not strong enough to take down the No. 4 team in the conference.

The first set was a close battle and saw the two teams within one point late in the going, with the Lobos leading 17-16. However, UNM ran off five straight points to break away and go on to win the set.

In the second set, the Aztecs were up by a score of 12-10. However, the Lobos came back and used the help of a six-point run to win the match by eight points.

The only set victory of the road trip for the Aztecs came in the third set against New Mexico. The entire set was close throughout but a kill by sophomore middle blocker Baylee Little, secured the two-point victory for SDSU.

In the final set of the match the Lobos jumped out to a 4-0 lead and that was all the advantage they would need. At one point, UNM went up by six points but would eventually close out the set and match with a four-point advantage.

“The youth on this team has not been able to understand the mental toughness needed to play on the road,” Collins-Parker said. “They were very disappointed in themselves in both of these matches.”

There are five matches left in the season for the Aztecs with three of those being at home. This week they will face both California State University, San Joseand the University of Nevada, Reno at Aztec Court.

“Nevada is a team we have not beat yet,” Collins-Parker said. “We want to at least beat everybody once.”

The game against San Jose State will take place at 6:00 p.m on Thursday. The Nevada game will begin Saturday, Nov. 15 at 6:00 p.m. Both games will take place at Aztec Court.