Heading into the weekend, the San Diego State volleyball team knew the Aztec Invitational wasn’t going to be easy.
Facing UC Irvine, Albany and USD, SDSU wasn’t getting its hopes up for a perfect weekend.
And while the Aztecs hit a few expected rough patches during the tournament in losses to the Anteaters (0-3) and Toreros (0-3), SDSU was still able to salvage the weekend with a victory over the Great Danes (3-1).
“We learned a lot about some of the players we have,” head coach Mark Warner said. “Looking at (the tournament) with the glass half full, I think this was a good experience.”
The marquee matchup of the tournament was the longstanding rivalry game between the Aztecs and USD. SDSU would lose the match three sets to zero (25-13, 25-23, 25-15) but showed their potential in short flashes, matching the Toreros kill for kill in set two.
“USD is a ranked team (#22 in the NCAA) and very good,” Warner said. “We played very competitively in one game against them. We need to be able to bring that intensity and execution all the time.”
Unforced errors were key in the Aztecs loss to USD, leaving SDSU in a hole they were unable to dig themselves out of.
“Once you get down, especially to a team that was playing as well as USD,” Warner said, “It’s hard to get yourself back in a position to win.”
In game two of the match against the Toreros, the Aztec freshmen showed some aggressive play, sparking one of the best games of the weekend.
Outside hitter Kyley Sexton was one of the top-performing freshmen of the match, as well as the weekend, finishing the USD game with seven kills and five digs.
“(The freshmen) were really aggressive and I’m all about that,” Warner said. “You need to be aggressive in this game. You can’t have players going out there being timid.”
While SDSU leaves the Aztec Invitational with a lackluster 1-2 record, Warner isn’t pressing the panic button just yet.
“You always want to leave a tournament with the best possible record,” Warner said. “But I think we’re leaving with a lot to build upon. I think we’re going to be just fine.”
NEWS AND NOTES
*Lauren Salisbury was named to the All-Aztec Invitational Team