UCSD upsets No. 1 San Bernardino

    In a huge weekend for UCSD women’s volleyball, the Tritons came up big with an exciting upset of No. 1-ranked Cal State San Bernardino followed by an easy victory over Cal Poly Pomona.

    Scott Thomas
    Guardian

    On Friday night in front of an official attendance of 395 in RIMAC Arena, the Tritons, ranked fourth in the Pacific Region, roared out of the gates with an overpowering 30-19 win in their first set. UCSD was led in the first set by senior Kathleen Hentz, who posted seven kills to give the Tritons a 1-0 advantage.

    “”She’s been our steadiest player,”” said head coach Duncan McFarland. “”She gives up a lot in height but makes up for it in effort.””

    However, the Coyotes, riding a 12-match winning streak, were not about to let the Tritons get away without a fight. They took the next two sets 30-21 and 30-20 to take a 2-1 set lead.

    But the Tritons battled back and came out on top of a hard-fought fourth set, 30-27. In the fifth and deciding set, UCSD was once again led by Hentz, who notched four kills, including the game-ending kill, to give the Tritons a 15-10 set win and a 3-2 overall victory.

    Hentz finished with 15 kills on the night, and freshmen Stacy Dunsmore and Katie Hogan each contributed 11 kills and 10 kills, respectively.

    “”Stacy Dunsmore’s five aces was just gigantic,”” McFarland said. “”She had a tremendous match as well.””

    McFarland noted that the third set was the turning point of the match for the Tritons.

    “”In the third game, we were really getting blown out by [San Bernardino],”” he said. “”But when I subbed in Jennie Wilson she gave us a spark and got the team going again. Even though we lost the set 30-20, she helped give us momentum for the fourth game.””

    The loss was only Cal State San Bernardino’s second this season; they dropped to 17-2 on the season and 25-2 overall.

    “”It was a pretty great win for our guys,”” McFarland said. “”A great, great upset.””

    The following night, UCSD readily disposed Cal Poly Pomona with a three-set, 30-18, 30-18, 30-20 victory.

    Dunsmore again was integral to the Triton victory, contributing a match-high 13 kills and making only two errors to end with an amazing .440 hitting percentage. Sophomore Denelle Smalley had a team-high 10 digs for the Tritons and freshman Teresa Ohta posted 23 assists. On the night, UCSD outhit Cal Poly .266 to .074.

    “”I think it was a case of one team having a lot more motivation than the other,”” McFarland said. “”Our team has certainly improved — they’re starting to believe in themselves. I’m real proud of [them].””

    The victory was the Tritons’ seventh home conference win in a row and helped UCSD improve to 14-4 in league and 19-6 overall.

    The Tritons will next take on Cal State Bakersfield, ranked No. 2 in the Pacific Region, Tuesday at RIMAC Arena at 3 p.m.

    “”That [game] will be very big, very important for the playoffs,”” McFarland said. “”It’s a very tight race between us, Bakersfield and Cal State Los Angeles.””

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