Volleyball At USD Invitational Friday and Saturday

This Week:
Fri. Sept. 18 USD Invitational San Diego, Calif.
#18 UC Irvine 7:00 p.m. PDT

Sat. Sept. 19 USD Invitational San Diego, Calif.
#23 San Diego 1:00 p.m. PDT

SPARTANS TO PLAY AT FINAL NON-CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: San Jose State plays in its final non-conference tournament of the season this weekend at the USD Invitational in San Diego. The Spartans play #18 UC Irvine Friday night and #23 San Diego Saturday afternoon. These are the final road non-conference matches for the season. San Jose State starts Western Athletic Conference play next Thursday, September 24, against Idaho.

LIVE STATS/AUDIO: Live stats will be available for Spartan matches this week. Links to the stats are available on the San Diego (usdtoreros.com) web site. Links to the live stat pages are also on the Spartan web site at www.sjsuspartans.com. The San Jose State-San Diego match will also have live video available on the Toreros site.

ABOUT #18 UC IRVINE: The Anteaters enter Friday night’s match with a 9-1 record. The team defeated nationally-ranked California, 3-2, in the first match of the season and have swept four opponents this season. Former Olympian Paula Weishoff is in her first year at the helm of the program. Kari Pestolesi leads the team with 131 kills, followed by Juliane Piggott with 103.

San Jose State leads the overall series, 21-10-1, and won last year’s meeting, 3-1, at the LMU Classic.

ABOUT #23 SAN DIEGO: The Toreros enter the week with a 4-3 record and play Seattle and UC Irvine before facing the Spartans on Saturday. Head coach Jennifer Petrie is in her 11th season at the school. Ashton Basch leads the team with 88 kills, while Torey Ellick had a team-best 19 blocks.

San Jose State has won all four meetings in the series including a 3-0 win at the 2001 San Diego Invitational.

Oscar Crespo is in his third season as head coach at his alma mater with a 27-41 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 the second weekend. Last weekend, San Jose State played at #13 California. This week, the team faces #18 UC Irvine who has a 9-1 record, and #23 San Diego.

12TH TRIPLE-DOUBLE IN SCHOOL HISTORY: In just her sixth match in a Spartan uniform, freshman setter Caitlin Andrade has already joined an elite club in San Jose State volleyball history with a triple-double at Saint Mary's.

Andrade is just the second setter in school history to record a triple-double and the eighth player overall to accomplish this feat for only the 12th time. Andrade recorded 32 assists, 12 digs and 10 kills in the three-set match.

Ironically, the last triple-double in school history was recorded last year against Saint Mary's at the Sacramento State Invitational. Former setter Emily Burke had 40 assists, 15 digs and 10 kills.

SPARTAN CAREER RANKINGS: Kristal Tsukano continues to move 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 1,127 in her four-year career. Tsukano needs 285 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 1127 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. #13 California was tougher for Akana as she had just five kills on 21 attempts and five errors. In the three matches, she has a .273 hitting percentage (22-7-55).

K & T VOLLEYBLOG COMES TO THE WEB!: Seniors Kristal Tsukano and Thao Pham are giving their thoughts on the 2009 season and what is happening with the Spartan volleyball team. Stay tuned to the Spartan web site at www.sjsuspartans.com to see what the two Spartan seniors are talking about this week.

JAPHET LEADS TEAM IN KILLS: Freshman Taylor Japhet leads the Spartans in kills with 71, 2.54 per set. She had 17 against Seattle and 11 versus Eastern Washington.

TSUKANO RECORDS FIRST DOUBLE-DOUBLE: It took the fourth season, but senior Kristal Tsukano recorded her first double-double of her Spartan career. She had a career-best 11 kills and 18 digs against Eastern Washington.

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 had a team-best 29 assists at Seattle.

NEVADA UNION CONNECTION: 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.

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

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.

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
Tsukano is a biological science major and a three-time Academic All-WAC selection.

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.

2009 WAC TOURNAMENT: 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

UP NEXT: The Spartans open the home portion of the schedule next week with two Western Athletic Conference matches. The team begins the WAC schedule against Idaho on Thursday, September 24, at 7 p.m., followed by an afternoon match against Boise State on Saturday, September 26, at 1 p.m.