Down two sets to one, Seattle University was able to force a fifth set, but San Jose State took control of the deciding set and held on for a 3-2 victory (16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 16-25, 15-8) Saturday night in Western Athletic Conference volleyball action at Spartan Gym.
Seattle U got off to a slow start in the fourth set, as San Jose State scored four straight points to take an 8-4 lead. Sarah Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) earned four kills as part of an 8-1 Redhawk scoring run, and then Jaeckel picked up four more kills as Seattle U scored the final six points of the fourth set to tie the match and send the Redhawks to their fifth straight five-set contest.
Kaytlyn Dill (Bothell, Wash.) started the final set with consecutive kills, and San Jose State would make three straight errors to help Seattle U establish a 6-3 lead. After a Spartan timeout, the home team rattled off eight straight points with a combination of three kills, a service ace, and four Redhawk attack errors. A kill by Jaeckel brought Seattle U to within five at 13-8, but San Jose State finished off the set and the match on kills by Mary Alice O'Reilly and Hanah Blume.
Dill once again led the Redhawk offense with 18 kills and three service aces, plus she notched a double-double with 10 digs. Jaeckel finished with 11 kills, as did Karli Pedone (Granite Bay, Calif.), while Andi Lowrance (Phoenix, Ariz.) collected 10 kills and four total blocks while hitting .500 for the night. Jacquie Brice (Fullerton, Calif.) dished out 54 assists, McKenzie Daniels (Edmonds, Wash.) contributed 12 digs and two service aces, and Lani Beadle (Seattle, Wash.) led all players with 24 digs.
Seattle U won four of the first five points of the match, but San Jose State responded with a 6-2 scoring run to take a short lead. After consecutive kills by Alex Akana put the Spartans ahead, 11-9, the Redhawks went on an 11-2 scoring run, led by two kills and two service aces, including the 100th ace of her career, by Dill. Pedone helped close out the first set with a block assist and two kills.
The two teams basically exchanged points early in the second set before San Jose State scored four unanswered points to open a 15-11 advantage. Down by four after consecutive kills by O'Reilly, the Redhawks came back with two kills by Dill, a kill from Jaeckel, and a service ace by Daniels to pull into a 19-19 tie. The Spartans would win four of the final five points to clinch the set, the last two points earned on back-to-back kills by Akana.
San Jose State (6-7, 2-2 WAC) jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set thanks to two kills by Samantha O'Connell and two service aces from Kiely Pieper. Three kills apiece from Blume and O'Reilly kept the Spartans ahead, as the Redhawks could only come within two points the rest of the set. San Jose State closed out the third set on kills by Akana and O'Reilly to take the match lead, two sets to one.
O'Reilly led the Spartans with 17 kills and a .577 hitting percentage, with Akana contributing 12 kills. Blume finished with a double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs, and O'Connell nearly accomplished the same feat with 11 kills and nine digs. Spartan setter Michaela Leonard led the team with 51 assists and 13 digs, while Pieper concluded the night with four service aces and eight digs.
Seattle U was hitting .347 as a team during the first four sets before earning more attack errors (six) than kills (four) in the fifth set which lowered the hitting percentage to .273. Eight service errors, eight reception errors, and three ball-handling errors also hurt the Redhawks during the match.
Seattle University (6-8, 1-3 WAC) opens a three-match homestand next Thursday, Sept. 27, by welcoming the UTSA Roadrunners to the Connolly Center for a 7 p.m. contest. The homestand continues for the Redhawks Saturday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. against the Texas State Bobcats and concludes Friday, Oct. 5, against the Idaho Vandals starting at 7 p.m.