Volleyball Opens 2012 Season At UB Invitational

The 2012 San Jose State volleyball team starts the season in Buffalo, N.Y., at the UB Invitational.  The Spartans will face three opponents for the first time in school history - Oral Roberts, Buffalo and Canisius at the tournament.

On Friday, the Spartans will play Oral Roberts at 11:00 a.m. EDT, and Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. EDT.  The lone match on San Jose State on Saturday will be against Canisius at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

All three matches will have live stats, with links on sjsuspartans.com.  Live video of each match is also available at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/buffalo.portal?#, for $7.95 per match.

San Jose State returns eight players from last year's 12-17 team that finished sixth in the Western Athletic Conference standings.  Senior middle blocker Alex Akana is the team's top returner after being named a Preseason All-WAC honoree.  She was a 2011 second team All-WAC selection and led the team in blocking with 86, 0.88 per set, and hit .309 for the year.  Akana helped San Jose State to its best blocking numbers since the 2007 season.

Other seniors returning including right side hitter Krista Miller who averaged 1.82 kills ps and 2.66 digs ps, and defensive specialist Katie Turner who had 194 digs for a 2.81 average.

Kiely Pieper returns at libero after averaging 2.12 digs per set and recording a team-best 20 service aces last year.  Other returners include outside hitter Hanah Blume, outside hitter Samantha O'Connell, middle blocker Mary Alice O'Reilly and right side/middle blocker Sarah Griest.

Three newcomers join the Spartans on the court.  Setter Michaela Leonard played at Placer (Calif.) High School last year, while junior setter Brittney Diffine transferred from Shorter University.  Middle blocker/outside hitter Sydney LaFollette played at South Hills High School last year.

San Jose State, under the direction of sixth-year head coach Oscar Crespo, was picked seventh in the WAC Coaches' Poll earlier this month. The top-eight teams in the WAC regular-season standings will advance to the WAC Volleyball Tournament, Nov. 19-21, hosted by UTSA.

San Jose State next plays at the Texas Tech Invitational on Friday, August 31, and Saturday, September 1.  The Spartans will play Northwestern State, Texas Tech and Texas-Pan American over the two days.