Volleyball Plays Utah State at WAC Tournament Thursday

This Week:
2008 WAC Tournament
Nov. 20-23
Honolulu, Hawaii

Thurs., Nov. 20
#4 Utah State
2:30 p.m. HST

Fri. Nov. 21
Semifinals
5:00/7:30 p.m. HST

Sun. Nov. 23
Championship Match
3:00 p.m. HST

SPARTANS FIFTH SEED AT WAC TOURNAMENT: San Jose State enters the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament as the fifth seed after tying with Nevada for fifth place. The Spartans held the tiebreaker because of the season sweep of the Wolf Pack.

For the second consecutive season, San Jose State will face Utah State in the quarterfinals. Last season, the two teams needed five sets before San Jose State prevailed 17-15 in the final set.

If the Spartans advance to the semifinals, the team would play either the winner of #1 New Mexico State vs. winner of Fresno State-Louisiana Tech match at 5 p.m. HST on Friday. The championship match will be held on Sunday, November 20 at 3 p.m. HST.

WAC TOURNAMENT TO BE STREAMED ON WAC.TV: 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.

ABOUT UTAH STATE: The Aggies enter the tournament with an 11-16 overall record and a 9-7 WAC mark. The team defeated Louisiana Tech, 3-1, last Saturday evening. Head coach Grayson DuBose is in his third year at the school with a 41-48 coaching record. Melissa Osterloh leads the team in kills with 368, 3.57 per set and is third in the conference in service aces with 34, 0.33 per set.

San Jose State leads the overall series, 15-8-1, but Utah State won both meetings this season, 3-2 in Spartan Gym on Sept. 20, and 3-1 in Logan on November 5.

POSSIBLE OPPONENT - #1 NEW MEXICO STATE: The Aggies enter the tournament as the top-seed as they tied for first place with Hawaii at 15-1. The team has a 21-7 overall record. Head coach Mike Jordan is in his 11th year at the school with a 242-104. Lindsey Yon is averaging 3.86 kills per set (367), while Amber Simpson is second in the WAC in blocks with 130, 1.37 ps. Libero Kristal Torres leads the conference in digs with 437, 4.60 ps.

New Mexico State leads the overall series, 15-9, and has won the past 13 meetings. The Aggies won both meetings this seas - at Spartan Gym, 25-23, 25-20, 25-21, on October 2, and 25-20, 25-15, 25-18, last Saturday evening.

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 26-31 coaching record in two seasons.

SAN JOSE STATE AT THE WAC TOURNAMENT: San Jose State enters this year’s WAC Volleyball Tournament with an 10-10 WAC tournament record in nine appearances. The Spartans have twice advanced to the championship match (2001 & 2003). Four other times (1998, 2002, 2006, 2007), San Jose State advanced to the semifinal match where the team lost to Hawaii, 3-0, three times and to New Mexico State, 3-0, in 2007.

RECAP OF LAST WEEK’S MATCHES:
The Spartans split a pair of WAC matches, winning at Louisiana Tech, 3-2, but falling at WAC Champion New Mexico State, 0-3. At Louisiana Tech, the Spartans were led by Brianna Amian with 16 kills on a career-high 62 attempts. She also recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 13 digs and added three blocks and two service aces. Nia Freeman tied her season-high with 12 kills on 27 attempts and four blocks.

Kristal Tsukano started the match at libero, but she found herself starting on the outside in the second set. She played the final four sets on the outside and recorded a career-high 11 kills on 27 attempts and only two errors to hit .333. Tsukano was one dig away from her first double-double with nine digs and added two aces and a block.

At New Mexico State Saturday night, Freeman led the Spartans with 10 kills on 20 attempts with just three errors. She hit .350 for the match and added two blocks, one solo and one assist, and a dig.

Other contributors included Kelly Crow who had seven kills and six digs. Kylie Miraldi hit .477 with six kills on 12 attempts and only one error and added two block assists and two digs. Emily Burke recorded 26 assists, six digs and two blocks, one solo and one assist.

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

Colleen Burke moved into ninth place in career kills with 1,159 kills, second in hitting percentage at .310 and eighth in block assists at 274 and in total blocks at 294.

Two Spartans are in the top-10 in career assists. Emily Burke is now the ninth player to record 2,000 or more career assists with 2,017 assists. Brittany Collet is 10th with 1,656 assists.

Kristal Tsukano is sixth in digs with 999 digs and will become the sixth Spartan to record 1,000 digs in her career.

TSUKANO NEARING 1,000 DIGS:
Kristal Tsukano is nearing a milestone only five other Spartan players have accomplished in their career - 1,000 digs. She enters the tournament with 999 digs and needs just one more to become the sixth player in school history to accomplish this feat. Last week, she moved ahead of Danielle Spier (978), Darcy Walker (981) and current assistant coach Jeanine Haldi (982).

1,000 CAREER KILL CLUB: 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.

TWO 20-DIG PERFORMANCES IN ONE MATCH:
San Jose State got 20-dig performances from two players against Louisiana Tech last week. Thao Pham started the match at defensive specialist and moved to libero in the second set. Pham recorded a career-best 21 digs. Courtney Zellmer also played in all five sets and had a career-high 20 digs.

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.

ALL HITTERS ON BOARD: 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).

CROW TEAM LEADER FOR SPARTANS: Kelly Crow continues to have a strong season for San Jose State. She leads the team in kills with 353, 3.53 per set. She also has 253 digs, 2.53 ps, and is hitting .243 for the season. Crow also led the team in WAC play in kills with 201, 3.79 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.

MIRALDI HOME DEBUT FULL OF BLOCKS: 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.

UP NEXT: The Spartans return home from Hawaii and finish the 2008 season with a non-conference match at San Francisco on Tuesday, November 25. First serve is set for 7 p.m., at War Memorial Gymnasium.