San Jose State volleyball lost in three sets to the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack 25-23, 25-22, and 25-22. Latahevai Lousi led with 15 kills, and Nandyala Gama had 10 kills for San Jose State. Madison Morell led Nevada with 14 kills, and Kathryn Groenweghe had 12 kills also. Defense defined the victory for Nevada, as the Wolf Pack made 15 blocks to San Jose State’s eight. This game had no streaming video, so Nevada supporters packed Spartan Gym and made their presence heard.
“They held some good pressure on us, and we battled with them,” said San Jose State head coach Jolene Shepardson.
In the first set, Nevada took a 5-3 lead, as Jamie Hirai could not defend a shot from Nevada’s Madison Foley, and Morrell followed that with a kill of her own. Later, Gama made three kills that gave San Jose State 11-9 and 12-10 leads. However, solid offense and blocking by Morrell and Groenweghe helped Nevada take back the lead 16-13. From that point on, Nevada controlled the pace of game until Gama and Giulia Gavio scored on kills to tie the score at 20. Breann Robinson followed that tie by hitting the net on the serve, an error among several that proved costly. The set ended with Thaliana Grajeda hitting a serve wide.
“They moved their offense around and kept us guessing,” said Shepardson, who also praised Nevada’s defensive effort.
Nevada took a 3-1 lead to open the second set, after Gavio mishandled a hit and sent the ball into the stands. San Jose State rallied for a 14-13 lead off a Lousi kill and Grajeda block, and a wide serve and net violation by Nevada extended San Jose State’s lead to 16-13. Nevada rallied to tie the set at 18, and three blocks all assisted by Shayla Hoeft in the last four serves ultimately delivered the win to Nevada.
Shepardson praised Lousi as a talented player who is improving through the season.
“We’re giving her the ball, and she’s putting big points away for us,” commented Shepardson about Lousi.
“She’s an extremely hard person to defend, because she’s so high and so physical,” added Shepardson.
With an early 6-3 lead in the third set, San Jose State appeared that it could have forced a fourth set. Nevada still had answers to every challenge and rallied for a 6-6 tie thanks to a Morrell kill, Groenweghe block, and a wide serve by Thelma Grétarsdóttir. The teams exchanged one-point leads, before Nevada took a 15-13 lead off a Gama wide serve and Groenweghe kill. San Jose State still forced five ties, including a 20-20 tie after a block by Grajeda and Lousi and Avery kill. After Avery made another kill to tie the set at 21, she sent a serve wide left to give Nevada a 22-21 lead. Foley made a kill, then a block of Kaitlynn Zdroik to give Nevada a 24-21 lead. Groenweghe found the floor on the final serve to win the set and match for Nevada.
This loss dropped the Spartans to 11-15 (4-10 Mountain West) in their penultimate home game of the season. San Jose State has four games remaining in the season, beginning with a three-game road trip at Air Force, Boise State, and Utah State and ending on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving against rival Fresno State. Last year’s Spartan volleyball team went 13-18 (5-13 MW), an improvement from Shepardson’s first season in 2014 in which the team finished 4-27 (1-17 MW).