Volleyball Plays Three Matches In The Bay Area This Week

This Week:
Wed., Sept. 9 Saint Mary’s Moraga, Calif. 7:00 p.m. PDT

Fri. Sept. 11 Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic Berkeley, Calif.
Eastern Washington Haas Pavilion 1:00 p.m. PDT

Sat. Sept. 12 Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic Berkeley, Calif.
#13 California Haas Pavilion 6:00 p.m. PDT

SPARTANS PLAYING IN THE BAY AREA THIS WEEK: The Spartans continue playing in Northern California this week with three match in the East Bay. The team travels to Moraga Wednesday night for a match with Saint Mary’s. San Jose State then plays at the Molten/Hilton Garden Inn Classic this weekend, hosted by California. The Spartans face Eastern Washington Friday and the Golden Bears on Saturday at Haas Pavilion.

LIVE STATS/AUDIO: Live stats will be available for Spartan matches this week. Links to the stats are available on the Saint Mary’s (www.smcgaels.com) and California (www.calbears.com) web sites. Links to the live stat pages are also on the Spartan web site at www.sjsuspartans.com. The San Jose State-California match will also have live video available on the Golden’s Bears site.

ABOUT SAINT MARY’S: The Gaels enter Tuesday night’s match with a 4-1 record after defeating Texas A&M and San Diego State this past weekend. Head coach Ron Browning is in his fifth year at the school with a 65-45 record. Lauren Corp leads the team in kills with 77, 4.05 ps, while Shannon Lowell is the team leader in blocks with 26, 1.37 ps.

San Jose State leads the overall series, 14-7, but Saint Mary’s has won the past four meetings, dating back to the 2003 season.

ABOUT EASTERN WASHINGTON: The Eagles enter the week with a 3-3 record and play at Saint Mary’s Thursday night before facing the Spartans Friday afternoon at Haas Pavilion. Eastern Washington was picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference behind Portland State in preseason coaches’ poll. Hayley Hills leads the team in kills with 66 (3.00 ps), while Chenoa Coviare has 22 blocks on the season (1.00 ps).

This will be the first meeting between the two schools.

ABOUT #13 CALIFORNIA: The Golden Bears begin the week with a 3-3 record after spending the weekend in Hawaii at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The team lost to Texas (1-3) and Saint Louis (0-3) but defeated host Hawaii (3-2). Head coach Rich Feller is in his 11th season at the school. Hana Cutura leads the team with 119 kills, 4.96 ps. Setter Carli Lloyd is averaged 10.54 assists per set.

San Jose State leads the overall series, 24-14. California won the last meeting, 3-0, at the 2002 Golden Bear Invitational.

SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH: Oscar Crespo is in his third season as head coach at his alma mater with a 27-39 coaching record. A 1990 graduate, Crespo was named head coach in March of 2007 as the program’s sixth head coach.

TOUGH NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: The 2009 season finds the Spartans playing one of its most challenging non-conference schedules in recent memory. San Jose State faces at least one team ranked in the top-25 of the AVCA Division I Coaches poll in each of the first four weekends. The Spartans started the season playing then fourth-ranked Washington and faced #11 Stanford last Saturday. This weekend, San Jose State travels up I-880 to play at #13 California. The teams plays at #25 San Diego for the final weekend of non-conference tournaments, Sept. 18-19.

SPARTAN CAREER RANKINGS: Kristal Tsukano has moved up the San Jose State career digs list this season. She started the year in sixth place and is now in third place in digs with 1,093 in her four-year career. Tsukano needs 319 more digs to tie Dawnis Wilson for second place all-time. Jessie Shull holds the San Jose State career record at 2,260 digs.

1. Jessie Shull 2260 2003-06
2. Dawnis Wilson 1412 1988-91
3. Kristal Tsukano 1093 2006-08
4. Joslynn Gallop 1052 1997-00
Christina Lukens 1052 1999-02
6. Barbara Higgins 1039 1984-87
7. Jeanine Haldi 982 1999-02
8. Darcy Walker 981 1996-99
9. Danielle Spier 978 1984-87
10. Savannah Smith 947 1998-01

AKANA SUCCESSFUL HITTER VS. TOP-TEAMS: Alex Akana likes hitting against nationally-ranked teams this season. Against then #4 Washington, she hit .462 with seven kills on 13 attempts and just one hitting error. Against then #11 Stanford, Akana hit .420 with 10 kills on 21 attempts and one error. In the two matches, she has a .412 hitting percentage (17-3-34).

FRESHMEN, NEWCOMERS MAKE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT: The first weekend of play was dominated by the play of freshmen and newcomers. Freshman Taylor Japhet led the team with 17 kills against Seattle and leads the team with 30 kills. Freshman Alex Akana led the Spartans with nine kills against San Diego State and seven kills at #4 Washington. Freshman setter Caitlin Andrade leads the team with 62 assists including 30 against San Diego State. Freshman Katie Turner had 10 or more digs in all three matches including 15 against the Aztecs. Sophomore transfer Asia Casino

For the second consecutive season, San Jose State head coach Oscar Crespo signed a former Nevada Union High School graduate. Taylor Japhet joins the team this season after former high school teammates Sarah McAtee and Kylie Miraldi joined the Spartans last year.

The Spartans have also had success recruiting players from Kamehameha High School on the island on Oahu. Alex AkanaCaitlin Andrade join fellow Kamehameha graduate Kristal Tsukano at San Jose State.

FOUR PLAYERS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-WAC: Four returning Spartan players received Academic All-WAC honors last year. Kylie Miraldi, Thao Pham, Kristal Tsukano and Courtney Zellmer all had a 3.00 or better grade point average.

TSUKANO RECEIVES ACADEMIC HONOR: Kristal Tsukano was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Third Team, as selected by the district's College Sports Information Directors, last year. had a team-best 29 assists at Seattle. and

Tsukano is a biological science major and a three-time Academic All-WAC selection and the Spartans starting libero.

AUDIO BROADCASTS: Various Spartan home matches will be broadcast this season. KSJS, 90.5 FM, the San Jose State student radio station, is planning to broadcast four home matches - Sept. 24, Oct. 13, Oct. 15 and Nov. 2.

Other home matches will be broadcast on the Spartan web site at www.sjsuspartans.com. A schedule will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

COMING SOON TO THE WEB!: Seniors Kristal Tsukano and Thao Pham will be giving their thoughts on the 2009 season and what is happening with the Spartan volleyball team. The debut of K & T Volleyblog is just around the corner. Stay tuned to the Spartan web site at www.sjsuspartans.com to see what the two Spartan seniors are talking about this week.

The 2009 WAC Volleyball Tournament will move to a neutral site this year and include the top-six teams in the conference standings. The tournament will be played at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nov. 23-25.

All-session tickets are $45 and can be purchased over the phone (888-234-2334) or online (www.orleansarena.com/event-calendar/wac-volleyball-tournament).

The WAC Tournament was played at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from 1996-98 when UNLV was a member of the conference.

The WAC Volleyball Tournament is a single-elimination event with the top two seeds receiving first-round byes and the champion earning the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Monday, Nov. 23 (Quarterfinals)

No. 3 Seed vs. No. 6 Seed 5 p.m.
No. 4 Seed vs. No. 5 Seed 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov 24 (Semifinals)
Winner Match 1 vs. No. 2 seed 5 p.m.
Winner Match 2 vs. No. 1 Seed 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 25 (Championship)
Winner Match 3 vs. Winner Match 4 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

*times local and subject to change

The Spartans play in the final non-conference tournament of the season in San Diego. The team plays at the USD Invitational on Friday and Saturday, September 18 and 19. On the 18th, the Spartans play UC Irvine at 7 p.m., while the Spartans and Toreros play on the 19th at 1 p.m.