Volleyball Comeback Falls Short

Logan, UtahThe Spartan volleyball team used a number of different combinations Thursday night and an attempted comeback fell short in set four.  Utah State won the Western Athletic Conference match, 25-15, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, in Logan, Utah.

Kelly Crow led the Spartans with her third consecutive double-double with a team-best 13 kills and 10 digs.  She added three assists and a service ace.  Brittany Collet recorded her third double-double of the season with 28 assists and 11 digs.  She also had a kill and a block.

Kristal Tsukano had the opportunity to play all the way around for the first time in her career.  Normally the starting libero, Tsukano saw action on the outside in sets three and four.  She recorded a career-best seven kills on 14 attempts and teamed up with Colleen Burke to record her first collegiate block.  Tsukano also had 14 digs in the match.  Thao Pham replaced Tsukano as the libero and recorded nine digs, two assists and a service ace.

Colleen Burke and Nia Freeman each had nine kills for San Jose State.  Burke added a service ace and a dig, while Freeman had two blocks and two digs.  Kylie Miraldi had four kills and a team-best three blocks.  Courtney Zellmer recorded a season-high 12 assists, six digs and a kill.  Sarah McAtee added one kill, one dig and a service ace.  Brianna Amian played two sets and had two kills and three digs.

“Kristal, Nia and Colleen did a nice job offensively for us tonight,” said San Jose State head coach Oscar Crespo. “Kristal anchored our team tonight as she passed well and attacked the ball offensively.”

After losing the first set, San Jose State took an early lead in the second set at 4-2 on a Miraldi kill.  The lead changed one other time, and there were eight ties before Utah State won 25-20.

The third set started with changes for the Spartans as Tsukano started on the outside, and Pham became the libero.  San Jose State also ran a 6-2 offense with Collet and Zellmer setting for the team.  In the set, there were 12 ties and five lead changes.  The Spartans took the lead for good at 22-21 on a Crow kill and won the set on Crow’s only service ace of the evening.

In the fourth set, Utah State got out to an early 6-3 advantage, but the Spartans fought back and tied the set at 9-9 and took a 10-9 lead on a Crow kill.  The two teams traded the lead eight times during the set and had 14 tie scores.  San Jose State tied the match at 20-20 on another Crow kill, but Utah State scored four of the next seven points to win the set and the match.

“I told this team that we have to make changes to win and be successful,” said Crespo.  “We cannot wait for things to happen.  Brittany and Courtney (Zellmer) did a nice job adjusting to the changes we made before the third set.  We had to make a change offensively for our block.  We also started settling down offensively which allowed us to go to our middle more and take the pressure off of our outside hitters.”

San Jose State is now 10-15 overall and 5-8 in the WAC.  The team returns to Spartan Gym Saturday afternoon for the final home match of the season.  The Spartans host Nevada at 2 p.m., with the six seniors to be honored prior to the match.

Utah State def. San Jose State 25-15, 25-20, 22-25, 20-22.

Kills San Jose State Kelly Crow 13.

Utah State Melissa Osterloh 13, Kris Hymas 12, Emily Korsten 12.

Records San Jose State 10-15, 5-8; Utah State 10-15, 8-6.

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