Aztecs take two conference matches, move above .500 for first time


Photo by Weicheng Han

Several SDSU players celebrate after winning a point during SDSU’s loss to Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8.

by Sydnet Northcutt, Staff Writer

San Diego State volleyball finished off the weekend with two conference wins against University of Nevada, Reno (25-21, 17-25, 25-19, 25-18) and San Jose State University (25-20, 25-19, 25-21).

SDSU avenged an earlier five-set loss from the beginning of the season against SJSU. After the wins the Aztecs break .500 and move to 13-12 on the season and to 7-5 in Mountain West Conference play.

The Aztecs have now won four consecutive conference matches and six of their last eight, a different story than preseason and the beginning of conference play.

“The biggest difference from the beginning of the season to now is that we are figuring out our rhythm on the court together and really playing as a team,” said sophomore outside hitter Hannah Turnlund, who led the Aztecs in kills on Saturday against the Spartans.

On Thursday the Aztecs invaded Reno and came out with a four-set win. Sophomore outside hitter Ashlynn Dunbar led SDSU, recording her third career double-double. She finished the night with 15 kills and 10 digs.

Senior middle blocker Deja Harris also had a big offensive night for the Scarlet and Black, boasting 14 kills of her own.

SDSU was also aided by 23 attacking errors committed by the Wolf Pack along with eight service errors.

The first set remained a battle for most of the frame, with the Aztecs only getting a comfortable lead after 19-17. Turnlund also had a number of key kills to secure the set victory.

The second set told a different story due to an offensive struggle by the Scarlet and Black, as SDSU only recorded nine kills total during the set. Despite this, SDSU managed to keep the set competitive with a 7-1 run, only to ultimately lose the stanza after the Wolf Pack responded with a run of their own.

After halftime both teams came out ready to battle in the third set which featured 12 ties and four lead changes. Unlike the stanza before SDSU hit .529, their best of the night, in the third set. The Wolf Pack collapsed at the end of the set and aided SDSU with four points off of attacking errors to put SDSU up 2-1.

This time it was UNR struggling to convert on the offensive side of the ball in the fourth set, managing only nine kills. Although the Wolf Pack never let themselves get too far behind, SDSU went on a deciding 10-5 run to finish out the set and secure the match win.

Saturday was another successful day for the Aztecs as they garnered another win, this time against SJSU.

The Scarlet and Black remained steady throughout the first set, gaining a lead early on and holding on to it comfortably for the duration of the set. The first stanza featured offensive production highlighted by senior outside hitter Alexis Cage and Harris.

The second set featured much of the same, with a few other Aztecs lining their stat sheet. Turnlund got out to a hot start at the beginning of the second stanza and forced a Spartan timeout at 14-9. The Aztecs continued to push on their lead and would go on to ultimately close out the set with a 4-0 run.

The third set was much more competitive, with consecutive serve changes from point three to point 14. However, it was the Aztecs who finished out the set on top 25-20 to clinch the match.

Turnlund was happy with her team’s performance this weekend and is encouraged by the team’s success in conference.

“We played really well as a team and played strong throughout the whole game,” Turnlund said, “We want to win and each game is super important to get to the top of our conference.”

The Aztecs will be back in Peterson Gym on Halloween at 6 p.m. against Fresno State.