Volleyball On The Road For Three WAC Matches

This Week:
Thurs. Sept. 30    Nevada    Reno, Nev.    7:00 p.m. PDT
Sat. Oct. 2    Utah State    Logan, Utah    7:00 p.m. MDT
Mon. Oct. 4    Idaho    Moscow, Idaho    7:00 p.m. PDT

BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN:  San Jose State goes on the road to play three Western Athletic Conference matches in a span of five days.  The team plays at Nevada on Thursday, at Utah State on Saturday and at Idaho on Monday.  The Spartans enter the week on a positive note after defeating Idaho at home this past Saturday.

LIVE STATS: Both matches this weekend will have live stats with links available on the Spartan website at www.SJSUSpartans.com.  The “Live Stats” button is located on the top right of the newly redesigned San Jose State Athletics site.

FACEBOOK/TWITTER:  Follow the Spartan volleyball team and all San Jose State athletics teams on the web.  Become friends with Sammy Spartan on Facebook and get the latest tweets on Twitter @SJSUAthletics.

ABOUT NEVADA:  The Wolf Pack enter Thursday night’s match with a 6-8 overall record and a 0-1 WAC mark. The team lost a five-set match at UNLV Monday and 0-3 at Hawaii last Friday.  Head coach Devin Scruggs is in her 14th year at the school.  Kylie Harrington leads the team in kills with 152, 2.92 ps,and is second in digs with 100, 1.92 ps.  Lindsay Baldwin is the team leader in blocks with 45, 0.87 ps, and is second in kills with 115, 2.21 ps.

    San Jose State holds a 23-14 advantage in the overall series, but Nevada won both meetings last year, 3-0. 

ABOUT UTAH STATE:  The Aggies begin the week with a 12-2 overall record and an 0-1 WAC mark.   The team hosts Fresno State Thursday night before the Spartan match on Saturday.  Head coach Grayson DuBose is in his fifth year at the school.  Liz McArthur is third in the WAC in kills with 241, 4.38 ps, and service aces with 18, 0.33 ps.  Setter Chelsea Fowles is fourth in the WAC in assists with 544, 9.89 ps, and second in service aces with 21, 0.38 ps.

    San Jose State leds the overall series, 16-10, but Utah State has won six of the past nine meetings.  The Spartans last two wins came in the quarterfinal match of the WAC Tournament in 2007 and 2008.

ABOUT IDAHO:  The Vandals begin the week with a 6-7 overall record and a 1-1 WAC mark.  Idaho plays Boise State twice this week before the Spartans arrive in Moscow.  Head coach Debbie Buchanan is in her 11th season at the school.  Allison Walker leads the team in kills with 155, 3.78 ps, while Kelsey Taylor is the blocking leader at 48, 1.11 ps. 

    Idaho holds a slim 7-6 lead in the overall series, but San Jose State won the last meeting this past Saturday, 3-2, inside Spartan Gym.  The Spartans trailed 2-1 in the match before winning sets four and five for the first WAC win of the year.  Taylor Japhet led all hitters with a career-best 19 kills.  Brianna Amian recorded her first double-double of the year with 11 kills and 11 digs.  Sarah Griest hit .500 in the match with 11 kills on 18 attempts and just two errors.

SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH:  Oscar Crespo begins his fourth season as head coach at his alma mater.  A 1990 graduate, Crespo was named head coach in March of 2007 as the program’s sixth head coach.  He has a 34-69 coaching record in four seasons.

WE LIKE FIVE-SET MATCHES:  Three of the Spartans six matches have gone the distance this year.  San Jose State is 3-1 in five-set matches, including a win over Idaho this past Saturday.  In all four five-set matches, the Spartans have started the evening by winning the first set, followed by a loss in the second set.  Then, the Spartans have split sets three and four, winning twice and losing twice.  In the fifth set, San Jose State has won three sets, 46-35. 

WAC WIN!:  The Spartans needed five sets against Idaho, but San Jose State defeated the Vandals, 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 25-15, 15-8 this past Saturday evening.  Taylor Japhet led the team with a career high 19 kills, while Sarah Griest and Brianna Amian added 11 kills apiece.  The Spartans hit .252 for the match and outdug Idaho, 64-47.

ROAD WAC WOES:  This weekend, the Spartans are looking to stop its WAC road losing streak.  The team has not won a regular season WAC road match since a 3-2 win at Louisiana Tech on November 13, 2008.  The Spartans did defeat Utah State, 3-2, on  November 20, 2008, but that match was at the WAC Tournament in Honolulu.  San Jose State lost all nine WAC road matches last year and the final road match of 2008.

ONE FOR THE AGES:  Through seven matches, San Jose State had not played a five-set match.  Then came the Portland State match.  The Spartans won the odd sets, the Vikings the even sets.  The fifth set was going Portland State’s way as they had grown their lead to 14-8 before a kill by Spartan Alex Akana gave the serve back to San Jose State.  Asia Casino reentered the match to serve for the Spartans and proceeded to serve seven consecutive points to give San Jose State a 16-14 win and a 3-2 match win.  Over those seven points, Akana had two kills, Hanah Blume had two kills, Casino recorded an ace, and the team won on a Vikings hitting error.

ALL-TOURNAMENT HONORS:  Four Spartans have received all-tournament recognition this year.  Courtney Zellmer was named to the North Dakota Classic All-Tournament team, while Hanah Blume received all-tournament honors at the SJSU/SMC Tournament.  Alex Akana, Caitlin Andrade and Blume received all-tournament honors at the SJSU Tournament.  Blume was named the all-tournament team at the UNLV Classic.

BLUME-ING ON THE OUTSIDE:  Freshman outside hitter Hanah Blume is making an immediate impact on the 2010 Spartan team.  She leads the team with 144 kills, 2.88 per set, and has 114 digs, 2.28 per set.  After coming off the bench the first two matches of the season, Blume has started the past 13 for the Spartans.  She has recorded two double-doubles this season including season-bests of 20 kills and 19 digs against Portland State where she hit .375 (20-5-40).

DIGGIN’ THE BALL:  Courtney Zellmer became one of only six players to record 35 or more digs in school history in the match against Gonzaga.  Against the Zags, Zellmer recorded 35 digs in the four-set match.  Her 35 digs are also the most by a Spartan player since the 2007 season when former Spartan Kristal Tsukano recorded 42 against Idaho. 

ANDRADE SETTING HER WAY:  Spartan setter Caitlin Andrade is averaging 9.61 assists per set and collected a season-best 50 against Portland State, Boise State and Idaho.  She also has two double-doubles on the season - 31 assists and 12 digs against Gonzaga and 47 assists and 17 digs versus Seattle. 

AKANA LEADS THE BLOCK:  Sophomore Alex Akana leads the Spartans in blocks with 30, 0.54 per set.  She recorded a career-best eight block assists against Gonzaga and added three versus UCLA.

UP NEXT:  San Jose State returns home next week for two WAC matches in Spartan Gym.  The Spartans host New Mexico State on Thursday, October 7, and Louisiana Tech on Saturday, October 9.  Both matches begin at 7 p.m.