Photo courtesy goaztecs.com
September 12, 2017 (San Diego) - The San Diego State volleyball team opened its six-match road swing on a disappointing note Tuesday after dropping a three-set decision to No. 17 San Diego (23-25, 18-25, 16-25) in the annual city showdown at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
With the loss, the Aztecs saw their two-match winning streak snapped, slipping to 4-6 on the season, while the Toreros collected their ninth straight victory in the series, improving to 7-3 overall.
USD outhit the Scarlet and Black .305-.121, limiting the visitors to a .078 clip over the final two sets. In addition, the Toreros maintained the upper hand in kills (47-32), digs (37-32) and total blocks (7.0-6.0).
Individually, SDSU was led by the trio of Deja Harris, Alexandra Psoma and Alexis Cage, who launched seven kills apiece, while Devyn Pritchard posted double-digit digs for the seventh time this year, finishing with 10 scoops on the night. The Aztec charge was also advanced by Gabi Peoples, who handed out 24 assists, while Baylee Little notched three block assists.
SDSU led by as many as five in the opening set, building a 12-7 advantage following an errant USD attack and a Psoma kill. However, the Toreros responded with a 14-6 outburst, as consecutive kills by Kristen Gengenbacher, Jayden Kennedy and Roxie Wiblin gave the host school a 21-18 lead.
The Aztecs fought back to tie the score at 22-22, with Psoma contributing a kill, block assist and service ace during a 4-1 spurt. But SDSU could not sustain the momentum, as USD received kills by Addie Picha and Kaity Edwards sandwiched around an Aztec attack error to secure the frame.
In the second stanza, the Toreros broke open a tight 5-4 score with a timely 10-4 run, extending the margin to 15-8 following kills by Kennedy and Picha. SDSU clawed its way back into contention, garnering two kills and two blocks by Harris while capitalizing on a pair of USD attack error and a wayward serve.
Trailing 17-16 at this juncture, the Aztecs had their comeback hopes dashed when the Toreros utilized an 8-2 closing run to build a 2-0 advantage in sets. USD received three blocks during that span, including two by Picha, who also provided a kill, while Edwards and Kennedy added one put-away each as well.
SDSU hit just .050 in the third set, knocking down 10 kills in 40 attempts with eight errors, but trailed just 11-9 after a Harris kill, an errant attack and a block by Little and Peoples. However, the Toreros gave themselves some separation with a 7-3 run, and the Aztecs never threatened again.
Edwards (.526) and Picha (.368) recorded 11 kills apiece to pace USD, while Gengenbacher finished with 35 assists. In addition, Lizzy Tardieu led all players with 13 digs on the evening.
San Diego State returns to the court this weekend when it travels to the Rocky Mountains for the University of Denver Invitational, Sept. 15-16, in Denver, Colorado. The Aztecs will battle UC Riverside in their opener on Friday at 3 p.m. MT/2 p.m. PT, before battling Gonzaga (10 a.m. MT/9 a.m. PT) and the host Pioneers (7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT) on Saturday.