Aztecs take down Air Force in four sets on Senior Night

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Aztecs take down Air Force in four sets on Senior Night

Senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a kill during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

Senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a kill during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

Sam Mayo

Senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a kill during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

Sam Mayo

Sam Mayo

Senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund goes for a kill during the Aztecs' 3-1 win over Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

by Megan Oytas, Staff Writer

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San Diego State volleyball won in four sets (25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22) against Air Force on Nov. 14 at Peterson Gym.

The game was packed with emotion, as it was the last home game of the season and senior night.

Senior middle blocker Tamia Reeves said the feeling was sentimental as she played her last game on her home court.

“(The feeling) was a little bittersweet,” Reeves said. “It was one of our bigger games for the rest of the conference at home, so to finish really well is really nostalgic.”

Despite the sentiment in the game, the players did their best not to let their focus slip.

Senior outside hitter Hannah Turnlund said the team’s focus came from trying to get one last win at home.

“I told the girls that it’s the last time I’m going to play here,” Turnlund said. “I want to have fun and get the win.”

On top of the high emotion in the game, every set was a battle. Turnlund led the team with 13 kills, as sophomore middle blocker Andrea Walker and junior middle blocker Erin Gillcrist tied for second with ten kills each.

Although these numbers are substantial, head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said the team has the potential to do better.

“Percentage-wise, this was one of our lower hitting games,” Collins-Parker said. “I think we made more errors than we have in a while, but offensively we have the power. We had a few missteps today.”

The teamwork of the players in the backline helped the offense with a total of 52 digs.

Sophomore outside hitter Victoria O’Sullivan said it was satisfying to be able to get points from the work by the backline.

“Putting the ball down from everybody whoever got us up for that play —(junior libero) Loren Teter, (junior defensive specialist) Lauren Lee or (junior defensive specialist) Sam (McGrath)—whoever dug the ball, just putting it down for them really feels great,” O’Sullivan said.

Throughout the game, there were several lengthy rallies between the teams. 

Reeves said the team was prepared for those.

“Those (rallies) are rough ones, running all over the place trying to catch a breath,” Reeves said. “But that’s what we work for in practice. We work on long rallies, we learn how to catch our breath and get back up quick, so I think we’ve done a really good job on mastering that part.”

Another bright spot for the team was freshman outside hitter Nya Blair’s home debut. She got the final kill in the fourth set to win the game.

Collins-Parker said it was good for the future of the team with new players like Blair stepping up.

“(Blair’s) a freshman who only played four matches this year and she had the confidence to go in and play really well,” Collins-Parker said. “She plays like she does in practice everyday, and she lights up the starting team.”

Sophomore setter Camryn Machado also stood out, earning a double-double with 47 assists and ten digs.

Turnlund said Machado has greatly improved since joining the program.

“(Machado’s) always been great,” Turnlund said. “She came in being awesome, came from a good school, and she’s such a hard worker. She’s only gotten better with time.”

The Aztecs (14-13, 7-9 MWC) still have two games left in the season on the road against Utah State and Boise State.

Collins-Parker said the team will still fight until the end of the season.

“We’ve got to battle right now,” Collins-Parker said. “Our goal is to continue to play and set a new standard that we want to be at. We have a three-day weekend so we have a chance to regroup, and come back and battle for the next two (games).”

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