Volleyball Splits Two More

    Home is where the heart is; the old adage was again proven true by the UCSD women’s volleyball team last weekend at our very own RIMAC Arena. There has not been a better exhibition of that throbbing, blood-engorged organ in a long, long time.

    Leo Der Stepanias/
    Guardian

    Cal State Los Angeles blew into town, unbeaten and unbowed, looking to add another convincing win to its already sterling first-place record.

    The Tritons, however, were more than up for the challenge that these big city ballers were offering and stolidly took the court Friday night primed and ready to face the one team that stood above them in their division of the California Collegiate Athletic Conference.

    The first set was an even-handed affair, with the teams going back and forth at the net. The ball fell a few more times for CSULA, however, and they took the set 15-11. UCSD used this first set let-down to motivate, and came blasting back with authority to win the second and third sets, 15-6 and 15-4, respectively. Now holding the 2-1 set lead in the match, the Tritons needed just one more game win to seal the victory and break CSULA’s season-long unbeaten streak.

    The Golden Eagles had other ideas, though, and handily took the fourth set 15-9. The fifth and final set was excruciating for both sides. It was the first time CSULA had been taken to five sets all season and they looked uneasy at the prospect of failure, while the Tritons were tense, not wanting to let their early lead slip away. Points fell for both sides, and the pressure mounted as the set progressed. In the end it was the Eagles, however, who had the little bit of extra effort to put the game away 15-12 and take the match, keeping their unbeaten streak intact.

    According to senior setter Christine Kueneman, a victory for the Tritons against CSULA is very feasible.

    “”We played them very well on Friday night, we just needed to do a few more things to get the win,”” Kueneman said. “”We know we can beat them if we just do those few things and play to our potential.””

    The Tritons were led by the play of Laura Santerre, who once again had a solid night, compiling 18 kills and 10 digs. Kueneman also had an impressive showing against the tough opposition, picking up 36 assists and 19 digs.

    Meagan Bergeson led the Golden Eagle attack with 16 kills, while teammates Jamie Griffin, Linda Saucedo and Dana Coffey had each notched 15 kills. Kristy Sain was a huge asset as well, contributing 53 assists on the night.

    The victory improves the Golden Eagles record to 19-0 in CCAA play and 27-0 overall.

    Saturday night was designated senior night at RIMAC Arena, and in addition to honoring Leslie Punelli, Kueneman, Kearney Visser and Shannon Hawes, the Tritons celebrated by stomping Cal State Dominguez Hills 3-1 in CCAA play.

    The Tritons took the first set easily, with 15-4 tally before momentarily losing focus and dropping the second 10-15. From there on out the Tritons kept their eyes on the prize and picked up set three 15-5, and held to take the fourth 17-15 to score the check in the win column.

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