Volleyball Begins 2013 Season At Tribe Invitational

Hanah Blume is one of five returning starters for the Spartans.

Aug 27, 2013

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This Week:

Fri., August 30 Tribe Invitational Williamsburg, Va.
at William & Mary 7:00 p.m. EDT
Sat., August 31 Tribe Invitational Williamsburg, Va.
vs. Northern Arizona 12:00 p.m. EDT
vs. Campbell 5:00 p.m. EDT

SPARTANS OPEN 2013 AT TRIBE INVITATIONAL: The 2013 San José State Spartan volleyball team opens the season at the Tribe Invitational hosted by William & Mary this Friday and Saturday, August 30-31, in Williamsburg, Va. The Spartans will face host William & Mary Friday night and Northern Arizona and Campbell on Saturday.

LIVE STATS: All three matches this weekend will have live stats with links available on the Spartan website at www.SJSUSpartans.com.

ABOUT WILLIAM & MARY: The Tribe returns 11 players from last year's team that finished 13-14 overall and 5-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association. Head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton begins her sixth year at the school with a 69-67 coaching record. Sophomore Dessi Koleva was named to the preseason All-CAA team after averaging 2.23 kills and 2.41 digs per set in 2012.

This is the first meeting between the two schools.

ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA: The Lumberjacks return three starters from a team that went 24-7 in 2012 and finished third in the Big Sky with a 15-5 record. Head coach Ken Murphy is in his first season at the school after coaching seven seasons at UTEP.

San José State holds a 2-1 lead in the season, but Northern Arizona won the last match, 3-0, in 2011. The Spartans won the other two meetings 3-1 in 2002 and 2006.

ABOUT CAMPBELL: The Camels return seven letterwinners from the 2012 team that finished with a 7-24 overall record and an 0-14 mark in the Big South. First-year head coach Greg Goral was named to the position in December of 2012 after spending five seasons on the coaching staff at Morehead State.

This is the first meeting between the two schools.

SAN JOSÉ STATE HEAD COACH: Oscar Crespo begins his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater. A 1990 graduate, Crespo was named head coach in March of 2007 as the program's sixth head coach. He begins the season with a 62-115 coaching record.

A NEW YEAR, A NEW ERA BEGINS: The 2013-14 school year begins a new era in San José State Athletics history as the school begins play in the Mountain West after spending the past 17 years in the Western Athletic Conference. The Spartans are part of the 11-team league that features Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming and the Spartans. The volleyball team will be the first San José State team to play in a Mountain West contest when the Spartans host Boise State on September 26, in The Event Center.

NEW HOME COURT: This year will also mark the first time since 2004 that volleyball team has called The Event Center home. All 11 matches will be played in the 5,000-seat venue, located on the corner of 7th and San Carlos Streets. Parking for all spectators is available in the Seventh Street Garage. The move was necessitated by the construction surrounding Spartan Gym and Yosh Uchida Hall.

ABOUT THE SPARTANS: San José State returns five letterwinners (all starters) from last year's 14-16 squad that finished 9-9 and tied for sixth in the WAC. Mary Alice O'Reilly had a breakout sophomore season and was a first team All-WAC honoree. She led the team in kills with 342 (3.20 ps), hitting percentage at .344 and blocks at 98 (0.92 ps). Michaela Leonard made an immediate impact on the team last season at setter as she average 11.11 assists per set and was a second team All-WAC honoree and All-Freshman team selection.

Other returning starters include outside hitters Hanah Blume and Samantha O'Connell and libero Kiely Pieper. Blume was second on the team in kills with 279 (2.61 ps) and digs (3.21 ps) and led the team with 31 aces. O'Connell averaged 2.53 kills and 2.19 digs per set. Pieper recorded 408 digs (3.81 ps) and 23 aces as she played in every set last year. Three others return this season - Brittney Diffinè (senior, setter), Sarah Griest (senior, middle blocker) and Sydney LaFollette (sophomore, right side)

Six newcomers will make their debut in a Spartan uniform - Lauren Jacobsen, Cori O'Donoghue, Megan Powers, Tyanna Roy, Sara Schell and Lindsay Skadeland.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': After opening the season on the road this weekend, the Spartans return to the state of California for the entire month of September. The team will play in tournaments hosted by Sacramento State and the University of the Pacific. San José State will play Eastern Washington in the team's home opener. The volleyball team is also the first San José State team to participate in a Mountain West contest when SJSU hosts Boise State on September 26.

The Spartans make a trip to the state of Nevada for an October 3 match at UNLV. After that, the team remains in California until a match at Wyoming on October 24. In that time period, the Spartans will play 15 of its 16 matches in the state of California.

SPARTANS PICKED NINTH IN PRESEASON MOUNTAIN WEST POLL: In its inaugural year playing in the Mountain West, the San José State women's volleyball team was selected ninth in the 2013 Preseason Coaches' Poll.

San José State returns four starters from last year's team that finished 14-16 and 9-9 in the Western Athletic Conference. First team All-WAC honoree Mary Alice O'Reilly returns for her junior season at middle blocker after leading the team in kills (342, 3.20 ps) and hitting at .344. Second team All-WAC setter Michaela Leonard returns for her sophomore campaign as she averaged 11.18 assists per set in 2012.

2013 MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL COACHES' POLL

Pl. Team (1st place votes) Points
  1. San Diego State (9) 99
  2. Colorado State (2) 90
  3. UNLV 70
  4. Utah State 68
  5. New Mexico 66
  6. Fresno State 65
  7. Boise State 51
  8. Wyoming 37
  9. San José State 27
10. Air Force 17
11. Nevada 15

UP NEXT:  The Spartans return to the state of California for the entire month of September.  The team begins the month at the Sacramento State Invitational, Sept. 6-7, facing Sacramento State, Cal Poly and Central Connecticut.