Women’s Volleyball Outlasts CSULA

    After suffering a discouraging loss to
    Sonoma State on Oct. 6, the UCSD women’s volleyball team recovered with solid
    execution and earned two much-needed victories to reposition itself among the
    California Collegiate Athletic Association best.

    Freshmen middle blocker Lauren Bradley had three kills in the Tritons’ trouncing of Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 13, three days after UCSD won a five-game marathon against Cal State Los Angeles. (Sanh Luong/Guardian)

    The Tritons regained their form after losing
    to the Seawolves, pulling off an upset against Cal State Los Angeles 30-23,
    30-23, 28-30, 31-33, 15-7, and following it up with a dominant performance at
    home against Cal State Dominguez Hills 30-26, 30-17, 30-13. With the wins, UCSD
    improved to 13-6 overall and 7-4 in the CCAA.

    Head coach Tom Black
    said the girls were focused and ready to play against the No. 19 Cal State Los
    Angeles on Oct. 10 despite the loss to Sonoma State still lingering in their
    minds.

    “[Black] persistently told us to move on and
    focus on the task on hand,” junior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey said. “We come
    out to every game focused on the task at hand and we work from there.”

    The Tritons got off to a slow start in their
    first Wednesday night game in conference play, as the Golden Eagles jumped out
    to a commanding 20-15 lead after a serving ace. The deficit invigorated UCSD as
    the Tritons took off on a five-point run to tie the game at 20 apiece. Senior
    opposite Amber Ries led the attack with a kill and block, and the fired-up
    Tritons scored 10 of the next 13 to snatch game one
    30-23.

    Down 13-5 in game two, Bailey began to heat
    up, firing four kills as part of the Tritons 10-1 run. The teams continued to
    trade points until UCSD’s new all-time digs leader senior defensive specialist
    Natalie Facchini served up three aces on a Triton six-point run. Ries closed
    out game two with a kill.

    In what became the back-and-forth theme of
    the game, the Tritons again dug themselves into another deficit in game three.
    This time, they weren’t able to dig themselves out. Down 22-16, the Tritons
    battled point for point until they were only a point behind at 29-28. Cal State
    Los Angeles drowned UCSD’s hopes of a third straight comeback by winning 30-28.

    Bailey explained how the Tritons nearly
    managed to battle back from six points behind.

    Junior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey had 12 kills and three service aces against Cal State Dominguez Hills to raise her team-leading totals to 261 and 35, respectively. (Sanh Luong/Guardian)

    “We played in a deficit for a lot of the
    match,” Bailey said. “But for all the hard work we put in and our inner drive
    to win, we weren’t going to let up.”

    The Tritons finally played with a lead early
    in game four, forcing the Golden Eagles into a timeout. But Cal State Los
    Angeles soared back to tie the game at 18, eventually capturing a 20-18
    advantage. The teams went back and forth as the conclusion of game four neared
    the end with neither offering any breathing room. Bailey tallied one of her
    team-high 23 kills to tie the game at 28-28.

    UCSD would earn a 31-30 lead and the game
    point on a Golden Eagle error. Cal State Los Angeles staved off defeat with a
    pair of kills giving it game four and forcing a decisive game five.

    The Tritons put the pressure on in game five,
    jumping to an 8-3 lead powered by sophomore middle blocker Sylvia Schmidt and
    junior defensive specialist Michelle Torres. UCSD closed out the exciting match
    15-7, fittingly on two Bailey kills.

    The Tritons’ ability to storm back from two
    games down impressed Black.

    “We kept our poise after losing those first
    two games and came out with our guns blazing,” Black said. “I’m proud of the
    girls and the way they played tonight.”

    Black also had much to be proud about on
    Oct. 13, as the Tritons steamrolled Cal State Dominguez Hills. After a slow
    start to game one, UCSD pulled away to a 22-19 and wouldn’t relinquish the
    advantage, winning 30-26. The Tritons cruised in games two and three, using
    multiple runs to pull away from the Toros.

    “We were serving aggressive and we kept
    building from there,” Black said. The aggressive serving scored 13 aces for
    UCSD.

    Bailey paced the team with 12 kills and
    senior outside hitter Casey Wilson added nine.

    Now in the last half of the season, the
    Tritons have learned just how difficult the CCAA is but are eager to avenge the
    first-half losses.

    “We’re excited to see all these teams again,”
    Black said. “The girls really recognized the parity of this conference and how
    tough it is to play every match with the same intensity. We’re going in with
    the mindset of one match at a time and we did that well this week.”

    UCSD will take that philosophy into next
    week’s respective home matches against Cal State Stanislaus and No. 20 Chico
    State on Oct. 19.

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