Like a Phoenix, the Tritons' Hopes Arise From the Ashes

UCSD Women’s volleyball travelled up to Los Angeles to play Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State San Bernardino this weekend but came away from their stint up North with nothing but two losses.

UCSD met the Broncos of Pomona on Friday night at Darlene May gym in Pomona. The Tritons, as the second place team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, were heavily favored coming into this match.

The first set was not indicative of this, however, as UCSD had a negative hitting percentage at -.161 and lost the game 15-4.

UCSD bounced back in the second set with a 15-11 win to even the set score at one each.

The match really paralleled this up-and-down roller coaster ride all night long. One team would win a set and look like they were building momentum and then the opposing team would storm right back to take the next set.

“”We play a lot of games during the season and we’ve just been in a little bit of a slump lately,”” said UCSD head coach Duncan McFarland.

Cal Poly Pomona took the third set with a decisive 15-8 win, but true to form, UCSD came back and took a hard fought fourth set 15-13.

UCSD took a 5-4 lead early in the fifth set. Then the Broncos seemed to step up their intensity and reeled off four consecutive points to take a lead at 8-5 that they would not relinquish.

The Tritons cut the Broncos’ lead to 10-9 but that was as close as it would get and Cal Poly Pomona pulled it out with a 15-9 win.

UCSD was led by Laura Santerre who had 12 kills and six digs. The Tritons also received good performances from Jennie Wilson and Jamie Woods who each had 11 kills.

Karla Tate of the Broncos set a school record with 32 kills in the game. She added four digs.

The Tritons moved on to CSU San Bernardino the next weekend and looked as if they were still hung over from the previous day’s defeat.

They came out and were promptly put behind a set by the score 15-6.

The second set proved to be no different as they fell to an identical score.

With their backs against the wall the Tritons rallied to take San Bernardino to extra points but that was all she wrote as UCSD was not able to pull it out and lost 16-14.

Santerre again stood out for the Tritons with 10 kills and three digs.

Wilson had a dig to compliment her 11 kills and Woods led the team in digs with five.

The Tritons were plagued by poor hitting the whole weekend as they posted a hitting percentage below .100 in four out of the eight sets they played.

With the loss on Friday the Tritons dropped into a three-way tie for second place and with the loss on Friday they slid even further into the pack, all alone in fourth place. CSU Bakersfield and CSU San Bernardino are in a two-way tie for second place.

The West region gets six berths in the NCAA tournament and three, possibly four, teams from the CCAA will be selected for these berths.

With UCSD’s two losses the picture for the playoffs, which just Thursday was bright and crystal clear, is now clouded with doubt.

However, due to Grand Canyon University’s poor performance this weekend, UCSD was granted the sixth spot in the West regional playoffs.

Said McFarland, “”We thought we were out of it but due to Grand Canyon’s performance and our own strong showings earlier on in the year, we got the spot.””

UCSD certainly deserves the a berth as all season long the team has had a stranglehold on second place in the CCAA.

“”We are excited and the team really deserves this,”” McFarland said. “”With school and midterms and how many games we play, it is hard to keep going all season. But our earlier games really secured us this spot.””

The team will play Cal State Bakersfield Thursday in the 5 p.m. game, at Cal State Los Angeles.

“”We are going to take it easy in practice tomorrow and then start preparing a specific game plan for the Bakersfield game,”” McFarland said. “”Amy Waite is their top hitter and they play a game that is similar to ours. She is one of the top hitters in the conference so it will be a challenge.””

The Tritons have their work cut out for them as they have already lost to Bakersfield twice this year.

“”We need to work on our ball control and serving and passing,”” McFarland said. “”However, Grand Canyon has beat Bakersfield twice this year and we have beat Grand Canyon twice so I think we should be able to prevail.””

The law of averages is on the Triton’s side, and after this minislump and they should be hungry for a win.

If the Tritons win their game against Bakersfield they will then be confronted by Hawaii Pacific, the second ranked team in the conference.

The top ranked team in the conference is Cal State Los Angeles. They posted a 22-0 record this year.