UCSD sweeps Cal State LA in volleyball

    Ask any member of the No. 1 UCSD women’s volleyball team if they monitor their individual achievements and they will tell you that such things are not of much concern. Senior setter and all-time assists leader (4,344) Teresa Ohta added another milestone to her career in the 3-0 sweep over No. 3 Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 15 by recording her thousandth dig, making her the fourth Triton to accomplish the feat. She now has 1,006 career digs. Ohta said she was unaware that she was on pace to reach the 1,000-mark.

    “I had no idea,” Ohta said. “One of my friends in one of my classes mentioned it to me before the match. I didn’t really know about it. None of the girls really focus on [individual records]. We have much bigger goals.”

    Indeed, UCSD continues to focus on its team goals, posting its 12th straight win and seventh straight sweep over the Golden Eagles at their home court. Cal State Los Angeles head coach Bill Lawler, unable to find any weaknesses in the Tritons, came up with a ploy to try to distract the Tritons, according to Ohta and freshman libero Natalie Facchini — he had the Golden Eagles wipe down the court with towels after almost every point.

    “Their coach pulled out some tricks,” Ohta said. “He would have his players wipe out the floor when we were starting to go on a bunch of runs. It would mess with us. But if anything, those tricks made us play better.”

    The undeterred Tritons answered with a remarkable offensive effort against the Golden Eagles, hitting .442 in its three-game victory, 30-22, 30-18, 30-19. Ohta engineered the offense with 42 assists and four kills of her own, while defensively adding 11 digs. Senior outside hitter Bonnie Wilson pounded Cal State Los Angeles with 15 kills and eight digs while junior outside hitter Lindsay Crandell notched 10 kills and no errors to hit for .769. Senior middle blocker Katie Hogan also had no errors and nine kills, adding an ace and a solo block. Senior middle blocker Kendra Canape and senior outside hitter Stacy Dunsmore also contributed with six kills each. Facchini also had a huge night, recording 18 digs in the win.

    “We actually played much better last night than we have in a long time,” Ohta said. “We were more relaxed and after the match, we were happy with the way we played.”

    UCSD came out ahead early in all three games, capitalizing on Cal State Los Angeles’ service errors in game one to extend its lead to 22-12 and shutting down any chance of a comeback by the Golden Eagles. In game two, Ohta guided her teammates in putting away 24 kills in 35 attempts with no errors to hit .686. Crandell sealed the win for the second consecutive game with a kill to set the Tritons up for another sweep. UCSD took an early 4-0 lead in game three and never looked back despite efforts by Cal State Los Angeles’ senior middle blocker Te’Ara Epps and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Hardwick to keep their team in the match. The Golden Eagles could not contain the UCSD offense, completing the sweep by taking game three.

    Epps and Hardwick recorded 15 and 12 kills, respectively, but it was not enough to earn the Golden Eagles any games as they were punished for having committed seven service errors and coming up with only 34 digs compared to the Tritons’ 55.

    The Tritons are currently 21-1 overall and 9-1 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Over the course of the season, the Triton starters have solidly contributed to the team while also getting help from the bench when needed. The rookie Facchini was a defensive staple for UCSD, leading the team in digs on at least five occasions.

    “This is the best experience,” Facchini said. “It’s so much fun and competitive at the same time. Every single person has energy that I feed off of and [my teammates] are so helpful. I feel so comfortable to be a part of them.”

    The Tritons have seven regular season matches left, including an upcoming five-game home stand.

    “We have a five-game home stand and that’s good,” Ohta said. “It’s exciting to be back at home. But we still have seven games left and we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”

    The next home match is Oct. 22 against Chico State at RIMAC Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.

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