Grand Forks, N.D.-Courtney Zellmer anchored the San Jose State volleyball defense on Saturday with double-figure digs in both matches, including a career-high 35, but the Spartans lost two tough-fought matches to Gonzaga, 25-18, 26-24, 26-24, and Drake, 26-24, 25-16, 25-17, at the North Dakota Classic.
Zeller started the day with a career-best 35 digs against Gonzaga in three sets played and added two assists in the match. She continued her double-figure dig streak with 16 in the loss to Drake and added two assists for the Spartans. For her efforts this weekend, Zellmer was named the North Dakota Classic All-Tournament Team.
"Courtney was the anchor of our defense today," said Spartan head coach Oscar Crespo. "She played consistent and solid defense for us, and the other teams were afraid to serve her. She was all over the court. I am very confident with her back there anchoring our defense."
Against Gonzaga, the Spartans recorded 10 blocks and 74 digs. Alex Akana led the team with 10 kills and added a career-best eight block assists. Sarah McAtee added nine kills and a career-best six block assists. Freshman Hanah Blume came off the bench to contribute seven kills and six digs. Kylie Miraldi added three kills and a solo block, whie Sarah Griest had a kill on two attempts.
After nine double-doubles her freshman season, Caitlin Andrade recorded her first of the 2010 season with 31 assists and 12 digs. Asia Casino added a kill and two digs, while Krista Miller had four kills, two digs, one assist and one solo block. Leilani Marple saw her first action in a Spartan with three digs.
Blume and Griest started their first match in a Spartan uniform against Drake. Blume led the team with nine kills and 15 digs. Griest, starting in the middle, added four kills and a dig.
Others contributing on the court included McAtee with six kills, Akana and Brianna Amian each with four kills. Andrade had 28 assists and six digs, while Katie Turner had seven digs and Asia Casino with three. Taylor Japhet added two kills and two digs, while Miller had two kills.
"We played much better today," said Crespo. "I am really pleased with the improvements we have made, especially in handling the ball. We still need to get more score production from our left-side hitters."
The Spartans open the home portion of its schedule next week with the SJSU/SMC Tournament. San Jose State hosts #25 Saint Mary's Wednesday night and #16 UCLA Thursday night beginning at 7 p.m. each day. On Friday, Saint Mary's and UCLA will face each other at 5 p.m. followed by the Spartans versus UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Next Saturday, UCLA and UC Riverside will play each other at 10 a.m. All matches will be played at Spartan Gym, located inside YUH and on the corner of Fourth and San Carlos Streets in downtown.
North Dakota Classic
Gonzaga def. San Jose State - 25-18, 26-24, 26-24.
Kills - San Jose State - Alex Akana 10.
Gonzaga - Kristina Lavrisha 8.
Records - San Jose State 0-2; Gonzaga 2-1.
Drake def. San Jose State - 26-24, 25-16, 25-17.
Kills - Drake - Angela Bys 11.
San Jose State - Hanah Blume 9.
Records - Drake 3-0; San Jose State 0-3.
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