Fresno State senior outside hitter Jamiee-Lee Morrow (9) attempts a kill during Fresno State’s 3-1 loss to the San Diego State Aztecs Thursday at the Save Mart Center. Photo by Logan Downing/The Collegian
The Fresno State Bulldogs were defeated 3-1 by the San Diego State Aztecs on Thursday evening. They grabbed their first set win in five games, but the Aztecs rallied to take the final two sets of the match. Senior outside hitter Jamie-Lee Morrow led the Bulldogs with 15 kills on .237 hitting.
“Well it’s never fun to lose,” said Fresno State head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. “We’ve been losing too much. But I will say we competed tonight. We got back into what looks a little more like Bulldog volleyball, and that’s hard to do, after our confidence has been so low lately.”
The Bulldogs took their home court hoping to end a stretch of 12 straight dropped sets from their previous four road contests. The Bulldogs and Aztecs traded points back-and-forth until a 7-7 tie, but that’s when San DIego State took control of the set. SDSU won 11 of the next 14 points to take a commanding 18-10 lead. The Aztecs went on to close the set with by a 25-18 margin.
Fresno State opened the second set with a huge run on six SDSU attack errors and a service ace to take an 8-0 lead.
“That was a huge momentum builder,” Morrow said. “Volleyball is a huge game of momentum so that helped a lot. We were aggressive throughout the set.”
The Aztecs fought back to make the score 18-14 and appeared to have cut the lead to three. But an originally called attack error on Morrow was reversed and the point was awarded to the ‘Dogs. Now leading by five instead of three, the momentum was back in the ‘Dogs favor, and they cashed in with three more unanswered points to take a 22-14 lead. After a rally by the Aztecs, a kill by Zana Bowens and an SDSU attack error closed the ‘Dogs’ 25-18 set win.
After four ties in the third set led to a 7-7 score, the balance of the game was close to swinging either way. San Diego State was the team that was able to make a push and grab control of the match. The Aztecs scored 12 of the next 14 points to take 19-10 lead. SDSU closed out the set with a 25-14 win, the largest margin of the night.
“It was a game of errors and swings,” Netherby-Sewell said. “And we had a swing and they’d have a swing and it just kind of went back and forth. But they had more of them than we did.”
San Diego State kept rolling through into the fourth set. The Aztecs used strong serving to put the pressure on the Bulldogs and take a 21-14 advantage. The ‘Dogs made a late push, but SDSU junior outside hitter Halle Aiken put the exclamation point on her 17-kill night by winning the match point and a 25-22 set win.
The Aztecs held advantages in hitting (.262-.152), digs (65-58), and blocks (9-2). The ‘Dogs fell 3-1, but it was their best showing in weeks.
“It’s a huge positive for us with obviously been struggling the past few weeks,” Morrow said. “And this is a huge momentum builder for us. It gives us a lot of confidence. Our defense is working harder and that’s what we’ve been working on in practice.”
The loss drops Fresno State to a record of 6-17 on the season and 1-8 in conference play. The Bulldogs stay at home to host UNLV (18-5, 7-2) on Saturday at 4 p.m.
The Rebels come to the Save Mart Center red hot, sweeping their last four Mountain West opponents.