Tritons push winning streak to five games

The UCSD women’s volleyball team continued its run of impressive play with a pair of victories against San Francisco State University and Sonoma State University over the weekend. The wins bring the Tritons’ overall record to 15-3, and 9-2 in the California Collegiate Athletics Conference. UCSD’s fourth and fifth wins in a row, combined with Cal State San Bernardino’s loss to Cal State Los Angeles, mean the Tritons are just one game out of first place in the hotly contested CCAA.

This UCSD squad clearly had momentum on its side when it came up against the Gators. Despite attacking only .161 to the Gators’ .371, the Tritons escaped with a 30-26 victory in game one. The hapless Gators lacked bite for the rest of the evening, and even the outstanding night by SFSU senior Erinn Kelly — who had 16 kills, 21 digs and a .394 attacking percentage — couldn’t stop UCSD, which rolled on to take the final two games 30-22, 30-21.

The Tritons were led by an outstanding all-around performance by sophomore outside hitter Stacy Dunsmore, who led the team with 15 digs, had three blocks and added 11 kills with a .385 hitting percentage. Bonnie Wilson led the team with 12 kills, Jennie Wilson had five blocks and Teresa Ohta and Jessica Bartter combined for 41 assists.

Despite the surprising early challenge from the last-place Gators, Dunsmore applauded her team for its perseverance.

“”I think we played as a team and stuck it out,”” she said. “”We finished it out pretty strong, and we have faith that even if we’re down, we can win.””

Although maintaining a belief that his team would pull through, Triton head coach Duncan McFarland attributed the early struggle to a bit of luck for SFSU.

“”It was just one of those matches where it seemed like everything was going their way,”” he said.

The following evening against Sonoma State, the Tritons turned the momentum their way and showed no desire to play from behind as they rushed out to a 30-22 win in the first game. The Seawolves showed much more tenacity in the second game, but UCSD fought off several game points to take a 36-34 victory. Sonoma State was able to pull out a 30-28 win in the third game, but the Tritons recovered to take the match with a 30-25 win in the fourth game.

McFarland called the second game the turning point of the match, but also pointed to UCSD’s depth as being crucial to the weekend’s victories.

“”The key in both matches was using a lot of people,”” McFarland said. “”We used 14 [players] in the match tonight, and they contributed.””

The contributions of several players especially stood out, with Bonnie Wilson crushing a match-high 24 kills while hitting .476, Jennie Wilson adding 12 kills and 12 digs, and Ohta posting 41 assists and 22 digs for the match.

Midway through the CCAA schedule, the Tritons have put themselves in position to accomplish their goals for the year, but to do that they must become more consistent.

“”We’re really looking to be one of the top teams,”” McFarland said. “”Our sense is that we play really well at times, but we don’t have everybody playing well at the same time yet. We have moments where we’re great and moments where we’re just average.””

After a weekend in which two of the lesser teams of the CCAA gave the Tritons a run, Jennie Wilson also stressed that consistency of attitude is important.

“”We need to go into every game knowing that every team is capable of beating every other team,”” she said. “”The right attitude that every game is a big game; that’s the key. We have talent that can match every other team on the court.””

That talent will be tested as the Tritons return home to RIMAC Arena on Oct. 18 and Oct. 19 to play Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Stanislaus. UCSD will look to avenge its earlier loss to the CSUS Warriors and to prolong its winning streak by playing its best volleyball — consistently.