Women's Volleyball Rolls Over Chico State

    Count ‘em: Wins 16 and 17 are in the books as the UCSD women’s volleyball team earned its eighth and ninth straight victories Oct. 13 and 14 over Chico State and Cal State Stanislaus, respectively.

    The Tritons improved to 17-2 overall with a 12-2 California Collegiate Athletic Association record to move into second place behind Cal State San Bernardino.

    “It’s coming down the home stretch and it’s really important for us to stay focused,” head coach Tom Black said. “Some teams are playing for something and others are playing for nothing and we’re playing for something.”

    Chico State handed the Tritons one of their two losses earlier this season, but the second try proved to be more than the Wildcats could handle as UCSD took them 23-30, 30-20, 35-33, 30-22 on Oct. 13.

    “It was good to show them how the real UCSD women’s volleyball team plays,” senior middle blocker Brianna Koche said. “We were really excited and we played with a lot of heart. Our blocking and defense just outnumbered theirs.”

    The Tritons took an early 8-5 lead on a kill by freshman middle blocker Sylvia Schmidt. Chico State battled back to take a 20-18 advantage and never looked back, winning the first game 23-30.

    In game two, UCSD fell behind the Wildcats’ 7-9, but regained the lead after senior setter Kristen Halvorsen served six straight points. The run included kills by Schmidt and senior captain Nicole Courtney.

    After a Chico State timeout, UCSD pushed its lead to 25-17 on freshman Elaine Chen’s service ace. Courtney got the final kill and the win for the Tritons, 30-20.

    The teams went back and forth in game three, with UCSD taking a 22-21 edge. Chico State then used one kill and two aces to forge ahead 22-24. The Tritons regained the lead, 26-25, on a Koche kill.

    UCSD then fought off five game points when junior opposite Amber Ries and Koche combined for a huge block and a 34-33 advantage. Courtney again finished the game with a kill, giving the women a 35-33 win.

    “It was most exciting single game of the season,” Black said. “I don’t think the score switched for the better part of the game and it was a real pressure situation.

    Koche credited the win to the team’s unwavering focus.

    “We didn’t feel any pressure, we were just playing hard,” she said.

    Chico State called a time out after the Tritons jumped to a 10-6 lead in the fourth game. The lead extended to 13-7 before the Wildcats caught a second wind, pushing the score to 14-12.

    UCSD took a dominating 22-14 lead on a Halvorsen ace and eventually took the game 30-22.

    The No. 14 Tritons conquered Cal State Stanislaus at the Warrior Gym on Oct. 14, 30-20, 30-27, 20-30, 30-23.

    In game one, the women took seven of the first nine points to establish the pace of the match. UCSD never looked back, extending its advantage to 23-17 on Schmidt’s kill.

    Courtney did the rest, scoring the team’s final six points, which included two aces that finished off the game one victory, 30-20.

    Game two was a battle with 19 ties and eight lead changes. The teams exchanged points from 4-4 to 12-12 before the Tritons were able to build a small 23-20 lead on a Cal State Stanislaus hitting error, only to see it evaporate into a 26-26 tie.

    The Warriors took a 26-27 lead on junior libero Natalie Facchini’s service error. UCSD then turned to its big three of Courtney, sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Bailey and Koche to score a kill each and win the second game 30-27.

    The Tritons jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in game three but Cal State Stanislaus answered with nine straight points to take a 3-9 advantage. UCSD struggled the rest of the game, dropping it 20-30.

    “We didn’t play how we know how to play,” Koche said. “It’s a hard gym to play in but we still came back in the fourth game to win.”

    The team responded to the challenge in game four, using an 8-2 scoring run to lead 17-11. Courtney finished the run with a kill and UCSD cruised in, winning 30-23 on Facchini’s service ace.

    Koche, Bailey and Courtney led the Triton offense with 47 kills. Halvorsen added 46 assists in the match.

    The team is back in action Oct. 20 against Cal Poly Pomona before the showdown against Cal State San Bernardino Oct. 21. Both home games are set to start at 7 p.m. in RIMAC Arena.

    “[Pomona has] coined that they’re the best and they’re a challenge,” Black said. “We like challenges.”

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