Aztecs Drop Four-Set Decision at Boise State

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BOISE, Idaho – Despite a career-high 16 kills from Mikela Labno and a spirited rally in the third and fourth sets, the San Diego State volleyball team came up short in a 3-1 loss to Boise State (21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 23-25) on Saturday in a hard-fought Mountain West road match at Bronco Gym.

Boise State (13-4, 5-1 MW) maintained the statistical advantage in kills (59-52), hitting percentage (.260 to .210) and team blocks (9.0 to 6.0) to stymie the Aztecs’ hopes for a third straight upset in the Idaho state capital.

Along with Labno’s production, which included a .355 hitting percentage, SDSU (4-13, 2-4 MW) received nine kills and three block assists from Kayla Rivera, while Heipua Tautua’a launched seven put-aways of her own and tied Ellie Geoghegan for team-high honors with nine digs.

In addition, Kat Cooper (.364) provided a spark off the bench with six kills, while Julia Haynie (4 kills) added support to the Aztec defense in the middle with three block assists.

SDSU’s fortunes were also boosted by Idaho native Elly Schraeder, who contributed five kills and a pair of blocks, including a solo effort, while Noa Miller dished out 24 assists.

After combining for just 19 kills and a .103 hitting percentage in the first two sets, the Aztecs turned the tables in the final two frames, posting 33 kills and a .303 efficiency to climb back into contention.

Trailing 0-2 in sets, Schraeder led the SDSU charge by powering down all five of her kills in the third stanza alone, while Labno launched four put-aways in that stretch, as the two teams battled through 10 ties and five lead changes.

Facing a 21-20 deficit, the Aztecs surged into the lead on consecutive kills by Schraeder and Labno, while Boise State self-destructed down the stretch with two attack errors on the final four serves, including the clinching point for SDSU, which kept the match alive.

The teams traded punches for most of the fourth frame after the Scarlet and Black rallied from a 6-2 deficit to knot the score at 10-10 on kill by Miller. The Aztecs and Broncos witnessed 11 additional ties and six lead changes for the remainder of the set, with neither side owning a lead of more than two points.

Trailing 21-20 following an errant attack, the teams traded points on the ensuing six serves, but SDSU was unable to seize the upper hand. A kill from Miller and two more by Rivera was countered by a Lauren Ohlinger put-away and two others by Paige Bartsch, giving the host school a 24-23 edge.  The match abruptly ended moments later when the Aztecs committed a costly attack error.

Throughout the match, SDSU was unable to contain the three-pronged Bronco attack of Bartsch (17), Ohlinger (16) and Annie Kaminski (12), who combined for 45 of Boise State’s 59 kills.  In addition to her put-aways, Bartsch completed a double-double after scooping up 10 digs, while Chey Day totaled six block assists.

Despite recording just 11 kills in the opening set, the Aztecs remained within striking distance, as the teams combined for nine ties and six lead changes. Labno floored five shots, while Rivera came up with all three of her blocks assists in the frame to aid the visitors’ cause.

A McKenna Douglas service ace and a Rivera kill afforded the Scarlet and Black a precarious 15-14 lead. However, the Broncos displayed their finishing kick with an 11-6 run to secure the set. Kaminski keyed the rush with three kills; Jordan Miller added two others, while Ohlinger provided the clinching point with an ace.

SDSU kept things close early in the second stanza, forging an 8-8 tie following a Labno kill. However, Boise State responded with an 11-2 blitz to seize control.

San Diego State returns home for a pair of matches next week when it plays host to Wyoming on Thursday, Oct. 13, before locking horns with conference front-runner Colorado State on Saturday, Oct. 15.


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