Volleyball to Play Final WAC Matches This Week

This Week:
Thurs., Nov. 13
Louisiana Tech
Ruston, La.
7:00 p.m. CST

Sat., Nov. 15
New Mexico State
Las Cruces, N.M.
7:00 p.m. MST

SPARTANS FINISH WAC SCHEDULE ON THE ROAD: San Jose State finishes the Western Athletic Conference portion of the season this week with two road matches. The team plays at Louisiana Tech on Thursday and at New Mexico State on Saturday.

ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH: The Lady Techsters enter Thursday night’s match with a 4-21 overall record and an 0-14 WAC mark. Head coach Matt Sonnichsen is in his first season at the school and has a 144-140 coaching record in 10 years. KC Clayton leads the team in kills with 156, 1.8 ps.

San Jose State has won all 11 meetings in the series including a 25-21, 25-16, 25-22 win at Spartan Gym on October 4.

ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies begin the week with a 19-7 overall record and a 13-1 WAC mark. The team defeated Nevada, 3-2, and Fresno State, 3-1, last week. Head coach Mike Jordan is in his 11th year at the school with a 240-104. Lindsey Yon is averaging 3.81 kills per set (353), while Amber Simpson leads the WAC in blocks with 117, 1.42 ps. Libero Kristal Torres leads the conference in digs with 410, 4.61 ps.

New Mexico State leads the overall series, 14-9, and has won the past 12 meetings. The Aggies won the earlier meeting at Spartan Gym, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21, on October 2.

SAN JOSE STATE HEAD COACH: Oscar Crespo begins his second 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 25-30 coaching record in two seasons.

The Spartans split a pair of WAC matches, losing at Utah State, 3-1, and winning at home against Nevada, 3-1. Against the Aggies, the Spartans used a number of different combinations.

Kelly Crow led the team with a team-best 13 kills and 10 digs. Brittany Collet recorded a double-double of the season with 28 assists and 11 digs.

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.

On Senior Day Saturday against Nevada, the seniors proved to be the difference for the Spartans in the 25-15, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22 win.

For the fourth consecutive match, Crow recorded a double-double with team-bests of 23 kills and 18 digs. Her 23 kills mark the third time this season she has recorded 20 or more kills. Her 18 digs are the second-highest total this year.

Three other seniors had big contributions for the Spartans this match. Burke hit a team-best .464 with a season-best 14 kills on 28 attempts and only one hitting error. Nia Freeman hit .409 with 10 kills on 22 attempts and only one hitting error with two blocks, two digs and an assist. Collet recorded her second double-double of the week with 45 assists and 13 digs and added three kills and two aces.

The fourth set was another battle the Spartans had to overcome. The Spartans jumped out to a 10-5 lead, but Nevada slowly chipped away and tied the match at 18-18 on a Crow hitting error. The two teams battled, as Nevada could never get ahead by more than one point. The seniors then put the set away for San Jose State as Crow scored points 23 and 24, and Burke hit the game-winner.

CAREER RANKINGS: Five current Spartans rank among San Jose State career leaders. Niki Clement is ninth in kills with 1,154, sixth in kill attempts at 3,090 and 10th in block assists with 227.

Colleen Burke is in 10th place in career kills with 1,145 kills, second in hitting percentage at .313 and eighth in block assists at 268 and in total blocks at 287.

Two Spartans are in the top-10 in career assists. Emily Burke is ninth with 1,952 assists, while Brittany Collet is 10th with 1,656 assists.

Kristal Tsukano is sixth in digs with 984 digs after jumping three former Spartans last week.

TSUKANO NEARING 1,000 DIGS: With her 12 digs against Nevada, Kristal Tsukano jumped from ninth-place in the San Jose State record book to sixth place with 984 digs. She moved ahead of Danielle Spier (978), Darcy Walker (981) and current assistant coach Jeanine Haldi (982). Tsukano now needs just 16 digs to become the sixth player in school history to record 1,000 career digs.

For only the second time in school history, two Spartan volleyball players joined the 1,000 career kill club in the same season. They became the 1th and 12 Spartan players to accomplish this milestone.

Niki Clement recorded her 1,000th career kill against Arizona on August 29. Colleen Burke hit the 1,000 career kill mark against Sacramento State on September 6.

The only other time in school history that this happened was during the 1986 season when All-American Lisa Ice and Christa Cook recorded their 1,000th career kills.

TSUKANO RECEIVES ACADEMIC HONOR: Kristal Tsukano has been named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VIII Third Team, as selected by the district's College Sports Information Directors.

Tsukano carries a 3.69 overall grade point average and is a biological science major. She is a two-time Academic All-WAC selection. Tsukano is the Spartans starting libero and averages 3.37 digs per set this season.

AMIAN HONORED BY WAC: Brianna Amian was named WAC Volleyball Player of the Week for Oct. 27-Nov. 2 for her performances against Fresno State and Idaho

Amian recorded double-doubles in both matches, doubling her season tally. She finished with 12 kills on .423 hitting, a career-best 19 digs, three service aces and two blocks in a sweep of Fresno State. In a four-set loss to Idaho, Amian had 15 kills and three blocks to go with 18 digs and three aces. For the week, she hit .290 and averaged 3.86 kills, 5.29 digs, 0.86 service aces, 0.71 blocks and 5.14 points per set.

SERVING NINE CONSECUTIVE: During the third set of the Idaho match on October 11, Courtney Zellmer served nine consecutive points for the Spartans. San Jose State was down 20-14, before making a run to take the lead. Zellmer served nine consecutive points, including a service ace to give San Jose State a 24-20 lead en route to a 25-21 win. During the run, Colleen Burke had three kills and Emily Burke added a kill.

PERFECT SET: A perfect set is hard to do in volleyball. San Jose State had one against Boise State on October 9. The Spartans had a perfect hitting set with 19 kills on 37 attempts and no errors for a .514 percentage. San Jose State was also a perfect 11-of-11 on sideouts, meaning Boise State did not score any points off of their serves.

STRONG SERVING NIGHT: In the victory over Louisiana Tech, San Jose State recorded a season-best 11 service aces. Colleen Burke led the team with five aces, including three in a row in the second set. Thao Pham added two service aces, while Kelly Crow, Courtney Zellmer, Emily Burke and Kristal Tsukano each added one ace.

San Jose State had one of its best hitting nights of the season against Louisiana Tech. The team hit .336 with 49 kills on 110 attempts and only 12 errors. Three Spartans hit .500 or better in the match - Kylie Miraldi at .667 (8-0-12), Kelly Crow at .630 (17-0-27) and Colleen Burke at .533 (8-0-15).

Kelly Crow continues to have a strong season for San Jose State. She leads the team in kills with 346, 3.57 per set. She also has 247 digs, 2.55 ps, and is hitting .250 for the season. Crow also leads the team in WAC play in kills with 194, 3.88 ps.

COLLET STRONG IN TWO WAC ROAD WINS: Brittany Collet had two strong performances for the Spartans in the team’s wins at Nevada and at Fresno State. She came off the bench in the first set against Nevada and recorded her first double-double of the year and the ninth of her career with 49 assists and 15 digs. Collet started at setter at Fresno State and ended the match with 28 assists and eight digs. For the two matches, she averaged 9.62 assists, 2.88 digs and 0.25 aces per set.

TRIPLE-DOUBLE ACCOMPLISHMENT: Emily Burke recorded a triple-double against Saint Mary’s on September 5. She became the only setter in Spartan history to accomplish this feat. Burke had 40 assists, 15 digs and 10 kills in the match. The triple-double feat has only been accomplished in 11 matches in school history.

Freshman Kylie Miraldi made her collegiate home debut a memorable match on September 1. Against St. John’s, she had a team-best two solo blocks and six block assists for eight total blocks. Miraldi added three kills and an assist in three sets played that day.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM SELECTIONS: Kelly Crow and Colleen Burke were named to the Four Points Sheraton LAX/LMU Volleyball Classic All-Tournament team. Emily Burke was named to the Sacramento State Invitational All-Tournament team. Niki Clement and Kelly Crow were named to the Sheraton Four Points Wildcat Classic All-Tournament team.

EMILY BURKE HONORED BY WAC: Emily Burke was named Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 1-7. This is the first WAC Player of the Week honor for Burke.

She tallied 146 assists, 33 digs and 21 kills over four matches that week. Burke averaged 10.43 assists and 2.36 digs per set. She was named to the Sacramento State Invitational All-Tournament Team after becoming the first setter in school history to record a triple-double in a match. Burke accomplished the feat against Saint Mary’s7 with 40 assists, 15 digs and a career-high 10 kills. She also hit .571 on the match. She added a double-double vs. Sacramento State, finishing with 48 assists and 11 digs.

The WAC, in conjunction with its Web site partner JumpTV Sports, will stream all of the matches of the 2008 WAC Volleyball Tournament. Viewers can sign up by visiting www.WAC.tv. Single matches can be viewed on WAC.tv for $9.95 or fans can subscribe to the full volleyball tournament package (all eight matches) for $19.95.

UP NEXT: The Spartans will play at the 2008 WAC Tournament at the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus. The quarterfinals begin on Thursday, November 20, followed by the semifinals on the 21st and the championship match on the 23rd.