Exciting WAC Opener For Volleyball Against Idaho

San Jose-An enthusiastic crowd helped spark the Spartans in their home and Western Athletic Conference opener Thursday night.  However, San Jose State fell to Idaho in four sets, 25-13, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20, in Spartan Gym.

After a slow opening set and falling 25-13 to the Vandals, the Spartans jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the second set and led 6-1 after an Idaho bad set.  Idaho then made a run to take a 14-11 lead, but behind a cheering crowd, San Jose Sate slowly chipped away at the lead and took a 23-22 lead on a Kylie Miraldi kill.  After Idaho tied the set at 23-23, a Vandal service error and a kill by Spartan freshman Taylor Japhet gave San Jose State the 25-23 win. 

In the third set, Idaho scored three consecutive points to take a 4-1 lead.  The Spartans tied the set three times, but the Vandals were just able to hold onto the lead and hold off San Jose State to win 25-23.  The Spartans got to within one at 23-22 on one of Miraldi's 10 kills on the evening.  However, two Sara Conwell kills gave Idaho the win.

The fourth set started similar to the third set with Idaho taking a 4-1 lead, but San Jose State tied the match at 8-8 on an Alex Akana kill and took a 9-8 lead on a Conwell hitting error.  But, Idaho used an eight-point rally to take a 16-10 lead and led 18-10.  San Jose State go as close as four points, but Conwell's 19th kill gave Idaho the win.

"We battled hard tonight against a good blocking team," said San Jose State head coach Oscar Crespo.  "We blocked aggressively, but their serving streaks got to us.  Our offense is coming along for us.

"Our fans were great tonight for our home-opener.  They were cheering and loud, and our team was feeding off of their enthusiasm."

For the Spartans, Miraldi and Akana each recorded 10 kills in the match.  Miraldi hit .409 as she recorded her 10 kills on 22 attempts and only one hitting error. 

San Jose State had its best blocking night of the season, despite being outblocked 17-8 by one the WAC's best blocking teams.  Miraldi and freshman Krista Miller each recorded seven block assists for the Spartans.  Miller, in her Spartan Gym debut, started on the right side and added four kills and a dig in the match.

Others contributing included Japhet who recorded nine kills, two digs and a block assist.  Setter Caitlin Andrade had 39 assists, six kills, five digs and three aces. 

Three Spartans recorded double-digit digs as the team out-dug Idaho 69-66.  Kristal Tsukano led all players with a season-high 23 digs and added eight kills, one assist, one aced and a block assist.  Libero Thao Pham recorded 15 digs and three assists, while Asia Casino had 13 digs and two assists.  Devan Wong added three digs, while Katie Turner had six digs and an assist.

San Jose State hosts Boise State this Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., at Spartan Gym.

Idaho def. San Jose State - 25-13, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20.

Kills - Idaho - Sarah Conwell 19; San Jose State - Kylie Miraldi 10, Alex Akana 10.

Records - Idaho 5-7, 1-0; San Jose State 0-11, 0-1.

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