Volleyball At Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State

This Week:
Thurs., Nov. 4    Louisiana Tech    Ruston, La.    7:00 p.m. CDT
Sat., Nov. 6    New Mexico State    Las Cruces, N.M.    7:00 p.m. MDT

SPARTANS ON THE ROAD IN NOVEMBER:  San Jose State begins the final month of the regular season with two road Western Athletic Conference matches.  The team plays at Louisiana Tech Thursday night and at New Mexico State Saturday night.  The Spartans will play four of their final five regular season
matches this month on the road.

LIVE STATS: This week’s matches will have live stats with a link available on the Spartan website at www.SJSUSpartans.com.  The “Live Stats” button is located on the top right of the 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 LOUISIANA TECH:  The Lady Techsters enter Thursday night’s match with an 11-16 overall record and 0-10 WAC mark.  The team lost at #4 Hawaii Monday night, 0-3.  Head coach Matt Sonnichsen is in his second season at the school.  Kara Jones leads the team in kills with 203, 2.64 per set, and in blocking with 52, 0.68 ps. 

    San Jose State leads the overall series, 14-1, and won the earlier meeting this season, 25-21, 25-22, 25-23, inside Spartan Gym on October 9.  Alex Akana led the team in kills with 13, while Brianna Amian had a team-best eight blocks.

ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE:  The Aggies begin the week with a 15-10 overall record and a 9-2 WAC mark, good for second in the conference standings.  The team lost at #5 Hawaii Sunday night, 0-3, and host Fresno State Thursday night before the Spartans visit Las Cruces on Saturday.  Head coach Mike Jordan 13th year at the school.  Senior Kayleigh Giddens leads the WAC in kills with 424, 4.76 ps, and points with 468, 5.26 ps.  Kelsey Brennan is the team leader in hitting with a .361 hitting percentage.

    New Mexico State leads the overall series, 19-9, and has won the last 17 meetings between the two teams, dating back to the 1994 season.  The Aggies won the October 7 meeting, 25-13, 25-14, 25-20, with Taylor Japhet leading the Spartans with six kills in the match.

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 36-77 coaching record in four seasons.

OH, SO CLOSE COMEBACK:  Despite being down 0-2 to Nevada last Saturday, the Spartans did not give up on the match and tied the match at 2-2 before eventually losing the fifth set 15-11.  It was the first five-set match the Spartans have played since a 3-2 win over Idaho on September 25.  In Saturday night’s match, the Spartans hitting came alive in the third and fourth sets, hitting .344 in each set to win those sets, 25-23 and 25-19.  San Jose State even hit .308 in the fifth set, but they could not overcome an early Nevada lead and lost the final set 15-11.

WIN IN LOGAN:  For the first time since 1995, San Jose State won a match at Utah State.  The Spartans’ 3-1 win on October 2 is the first win against Utah State not at home or on a neutral court since 1995.  That year, both teams were members of the Big West Conference.  San Jose State won two matches in Logan that year.  Since those two wins, the Spartans have only defeated the Aggies inside Spartan Gym (2006) or on a neutral court (1999, 2007, 2008).

WE LIKE FIVE-SET MATCHES:  Three of the Spartans eight victory matches have gone the distance this year.  San Jose State is 3-2 in five-set matches, including a win over Idaho on September 25.  In four of the five, 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 on September 25 to break an 18-match conference losing streak, dating back to th 2008 season.  Taylor Japhet led the team with a career high 19 kills, while Sarah Griest and Brianna Amian each added 11 kills.  The Spartans hit .252 for the match and outdug Idaho, 64-47.

ROAD WAC WOES ENDED!:  On October 2, the Spartans stopped a streak they did not like.  For the first time since November 13, 2008, the Spartans won a road WAC match.  With the win at Utah State, San Jose State stopped a 10-match WAC road losing streak, dating back to 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 the first seven matches of the year, 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 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 her presence known this season.  She leads the team with 242 kills, 2.88 per set, and has 190 digs, 2.26 per set.  After coming off the bench the first two matches of the season, Blume has started every match since then.  She has recorded five double-doubles this season.  Blume recorded a season-best 20 kills in a win over Portland State and double-figure kills in 13 matches.

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. 

TURNER DIGGING HER MARK:  Starting libero Katie Turner is the team’s leader in digs with 279, 3.21 ps.  She has recorded 10 or more digs in the past 15 of the past 18 matches.  Turner started the streak with a career-best 24 digs against Portland State.  She has a total of three matches with 20 or more digs - 23 against Boise State and 21 at Idaho.

ANDRADE SETTING HER WAY:  Spartan setter Caitlin Andrade is averaging 9.59 assists per set and collected a season-best 50 against Portland State, UNLV, Boise State and Idaho.  She has three double-doubles on the season - 31 assists and 12 digs against Gonzaga, 47 assists and 17 digs versus Seattle and 35 assists and 15 digs against Pacific.  With at least five matches remaining this season, Andrade smashed her season best 772 assists from last year.  She begins the week with 834 assists and needs just 70 assists to move into the top-10 all-time San Jose State career assists list.

AKANA LEADS THE BLOCK:  Sophomore Alex Akana leads the Spartans in blocks with 49, 0.58 per set.  She recorded a career-best eight block assists against Gonzaga and added six blocks at Utah State, one solo and five assists.

UP NEXT:  San Jose State returns home next weekend for the final match in Spartan Gym for the 2010 season.  The team hosts #5 Hawaii on Saturday, November 13, at 1 p.m.  Seniors Courtney Zellmer and Leilani Marple will be honored prior to first serve.