Tritons Falter in Second Match

    After downing the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters in straight sets on Oct. 4, the No. 21 UCSD women’s volleyball team couldn’t finish the weekend sweep, falling to Sonoma State on Oct. 5 to arrive at their current 11-6 overall record, including a 5-4 mark in California Collegiate Athletics Association play.

    The trio of tall Tritons in the middle has proved to be a crucial component to a successful year. Players like senior opposite Amber Ries (bottom) helped UCSD split their weekend games and compile an 11-6 record. (Will Parson/Guardian)

    The Tritons hoped to gain a bit more momentum heading into the big matchup against CSULA, but they are still focused on their positive play.

    “I thought we hit at a pretty high level,” head coach Tom Black said. “We had multiple hitting errors, but we take it one match at a time.”

    Junior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey powered the Tritons to a straight set win over Cal State Monterey Bay, 30-18, 31-29, 30-22. Bailey pounded out 15 kills, with sophomore middle blocker Sylvia Schmidt adding 12 and senior opposite Amber Ries tallying 10.

    As captain, Bailey holds herself to a higher standard because she feels she must lead by example.

    “After every game that we lose or win, I re-analyze how I played and reacted and how it affected the team,” she said. “As captains, we are held accountable for the team’s success and downfalls so we’re always critiquing ourselves looking back wondering what we could’ve done better.”

    The first was only the warmup for what would be an incredible second game. The Tritons and Otters battled back and forth, with neither team gaining much of an edge. Coming down to the wire, Cal State Monterey Bay was only one point away from taking game two.

    That’s where the Tritons went on a four-point run that killed the Otter spirit and won game two 31-29.

    “We just crawled it out,” Black said. “We kept our composure and won the game in an ugly way.”

    UCSD would go on to take game three and the match, stretching UCSD’s streak to three heading into the game against Sonoma State, which was coming off an upset of No. 16 CSU Los Angeles.

    “We knew [Sonoma State] had beaten [Cal State Los Angeles] but we kept our focus,” Bailey said. “If we’re not ready to play in this league, any team can jump on you. We know every team is tough, and so we go into every game knowing we have to play well.”

    The Tritons fell to the same fate as their fellow CCAA competitor, falling 30-20, 26-30, 30-26, 30-24.

    In game one, Sonoma State got started quickly, taking a 10-3 lead. The Tritons never appeared to have it together, as the Seawolves would take a 20-9 advantage before they came away with the victory.

    UCSD seemed to get back on track in game two, garnering an 18-12 lead before Sonoma State battled back to within three. Schmidt would put the game away with one of her 15 kills.

    With the score tied up at 8-8 in game three, the Seawolves would take off on a 10-point run that would all but end UCSD’s hope of a game three victory. That long run was largely made possible by a series of Triton errors.

    “I think [unforced errors] were the reason we lost,” Black said. “[Sonoma State] came out strong and serving tough but we did what we wanted on serve receive. We just didn’t execute.”

    The Tritons wouldn’t go quietly though, as they chipped away with a five-point run of their own, but the errors proved too much to overcome.

    Battling to force a decisive game five, the Tritons jumped out to an 11-9 lead. The teams were tied 20-20 when Sonoma State rattled off three straight points, two on UCSD errors. Bailey recorded one of her 19 kills to pull UCSD within one, but Sonoma State went on a 6-1 run to close out the game.

    “We weren’t connecting tonight,” Bailey said. “We got a little rattled for no good reason, and we should’ve been able to break them. But we’re a team that doesn’t let the past dictate how we play in the future so we’ll be ready for this week.”

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