San Marcos, Texas-Middle blockers Mary Alice O'Reilly and Alex Akana combine to hit .435 with 34 kills, but costly service errors hindered the San Jose State volleyball team winning its first Western Athletic Conference opener. The Spartans fell to Texas State, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 28-26) Thursday night at the Strahan Coliseum.
O'Reilly led all Spartan hitters with a career-best 18 kills. She hit .469 in the match with 32 attempts and just three hitting errors and led the team with four blocks, one solo and three assists.
Akana hit .400 for the night with 16 kills on 30 attempts and four hitting errors. She added four digs and a block on the night.
"Our middles made great choices tonight and were relentless in their attacks tonight," said Spartan head coach Oscar Crespo. "Mary Alice kept the defense off-balance all night and made good choices in putting the ball in good spots. Alex was impressive and was getting the ball where she wanted.
"We worked hard on our ball-handling to make sure our hitters could make good choices. We were digging good balls for them tonight."
Setter Michaela Leonard recorded her fourth consecutive double-double with a season-best 52 assists and 10 digs. Kiely Pieper recorded 23 digs for the second consecutive match, while two others were in double-figure digs - Hanah Blume with 14 and Krista Miller at 13.
In set two, the Spartans came back from a 6-0 start to win the set 25-23. The team took a 17-16 lead on an Akana kill and did not relinquish it. Akana put away another kill for the 25-22 win.
The Spartans fell behind early in set three and lost 25-23, but then battled in the fourth set with 12 tied scores and five lead changes. Texas State had match point at 24-20, but San Jose State scored four consecutive points to tie the set 24-24. Samantha O'Connell had two kills, while O'Reilly and Akana each had a kill in the sequence. Texas State took a 25-24 lead, but O'Connell recorded her 12th kill of the night tie to the set at 25-25.
San Jose State then had two costly serving errors in the final four points. With the tie score, Leonard had a service error to give the Bobcats a 26-25 lead. Akana then recorded her 16th kills of the night to tie the match at 26-26. O'Connell then hit her serve long and gave the advantage back to Texas State. For the match, the Spartans recorded 13 service errors compared to just six aces.
San Jose State continues WAC play this Saturday afternoon with a match at UTSA. First serve is set for 2 p.m. CDT/12:00 p.m. PDT.
Texas State def. San Jose State - 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 28-26).
Kills - San Jose State - Mary Alice O'Reilly 18; Alex Akana 16; Samantha O'Connell 12.
Texas State - Alexandra Simms 9.
Records - San Jose State 4-6, 0-1; Texas State 6-6, 1-0.
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