Women’s Volleyball Struggles to Get Out of Funk

UCSD snags one win against Cal State East Bay but falls in next matchup against San Francisco State.

Photo by Megan Lee
Photo by Megan Lee

 

Coming off a five-set loss against Cal Poly Pomona, the UCSD women’s volleyball team went into the past weekend hunting for a win. It emerged victorious against Cal State East Bay on Friday night but sadly notched on another loss the following Saturday night, when it was defeated by San Francisco State. Both games were played at RIMAC Arena. Following these results, UCSD fell to 9–9 in overall ranking and 5–5 in the CCAA ranking.

Game One

Friday night’s game against Cal State East Bay was a much-needed win for the Tritons as they were riding a rough three-game losing streak. Hoping to make a statement, the Tritons played with a strong mindset and ended up sweeping East Bay in three sets, with scores of 25–18, 25–14 and 25–12.

The Tritons improved to a 9–8 record overall and 5–4 in the CCAA ranking while the Pioneers fell to 3–14 overall and 1–8 in the CCAA.

UCSD played well against Cal State East Bay, hitting 0.300 with 43 kills and 13 errors in 100 attacks, marking the fifth night in the season that UCSD hit at 0.300 or better. It also had a 76-percent success rate as it sided out 35 out of 46 opportunities. Additionally, UCSD brought its service game that night, landing nine aces over the course of the night and finishing the night off ahead in digs by 53–39.

Junior outside hitter Meagan Wright brought the heat again that night, hitting the Pioneers with 11 kills, 11 digs, four service aces, three blocks and finishing with a match-high 17 points. Along with producing another double-double, she brought home a 0.323 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Kameron Cooper was able to produce a 0.538 (9–2–13) hitting percentage, and fellow-senior setter Heidi Sierks also posted up her own double-double, ending the match with 31 assists and 12 digs.

The Tritons started off the first set well, staying ahead the entire time and finishing the set off with impressive back-to-back-to-back kills, one contributed from Cooper and two from Wright. The second set started off close, but after a couple of good plays the Tritons broke off ahead and never looked back. The third set was run by the Tritons the entire time as they cleaned up the match on a kill from freshman outside hitter Molly Dalziel.

“It was a different mentality coming out,” Head Coach Ricci Luyties told the UCSD Athletics Department. “I think we have the mindset now [and] for the rest of the year that we can’t take anything for granted, and we play hard every play. So, hopefully, that’ll keep happening.”

Game Two

The following Saturday night didn’t go as planned for the Tritons, as they ended up losing to San Francisco State 3–1 on a season-low hitting average of 0.091. The sets ended with scores of 22–25, 25–23, 25–14 and 25–21 in favor of the Gators.

Prior to the game both teams were tied for fifth place, but following the weekend’s results, UCSD dropped down to eighth place while San Francisco State is still tied at fifth with Cal State Los Angeles instead.

As both teams amassed 100 digs, the Tritons were able to produce 46 kills but fell behind as they also amassed 29 errors in their total 186 attacks.

Of the 46 kills, senior outside hitter Danielle Dahle contributed 13 kills and Cooper pitched in 11 kills as well. Sierks finished the match with 39 assists, a career-high 27 digs and three service aces. Four other Tritons were able to produce more at least 10 digs: sophomore outside hitter Amanda Colla (21), Dahle (18), Wright (17) and freshman libero Kayla Evans (10).

“We are definitely in a fragile state right now,” Luyties said. “And it’s just a matter of playing through it, and I think the players just need to keep believing in themselves and keep going out there and working hard and we’ll be all right.”

The Tritons hit the road next week as they take on Cal State Monterey Bay on Thursday and Cal Poly Pomona on Sunday.