Bailey Sets Record, Leads UCSD to Sweep

    Senior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey set the UCSD career record for kills with her 1,183rd kill in UCSD’s game against Sonoma State. Bailey’s 19 kills in the game helped lead the Tritons to a sweep over the Seawolves.(Sanh Luong/Guardian)

    WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL ­— At the halfway point of the conference season, the No. 15 UCSD women’s volleyball team has really started to click. After struggling to put full games together, the Tritons appear to be reaching their potential.

    With a durable defense and an offensive barrage, the No. 15 Tritons swept their two weekend matches, dominating Sonoma State 25-15, 25-12, 26-24 on Oct. 10 and dismantling Humboldt State the following night 25-17, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21. The victories improved UCSD to 14-3, 8-2 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, good for a tie for first place with Cal State San Bernardino, which lost to Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 11.

    The Tritons improved to a perfect 8-0 all-time versus Humboldt State after their victory on Oct. 11. UCSD looked to be playing in peak form, despite the best efforts of the scrappy Lumberjacks (6-11, 4-6 CCAA).

    The Tritons cruised in game one, scoring the first five points and staying ahead 14-7 after a kill by sophomore middle blocker Cara Simonsen. UCSD would lead by at least four points for the remainder of the set, taking the win on a kill by freshman outside hitter Hillary Williamson.

    In the second game, UCSD fell behind 15-11 and had to contend with Humboldt State’s resiliency while fighting to tie the game at 19. Not letting the Lumberjacks get out of hand, the Tritons buckled down and finished strong. Senior outside hitter Kimberly Carpenter was a major factor in UCSD’s lead, and she finished the set with the final kill.

    The Lumberjacks came out strong in the third game and never trailed. Down 15-19, UCSD fought back to tie the match at 20, but Humboldt was able to force two UCSD attack errors and did just enough to take the set.

    The fourth game was without question the hardest-fought set of the night. There were nine ties and five lead changes, including one late in the game when the Tritons rallied off five straight points after trailing 20-19. Leading 24-21, junior setter Elaine Chen finished it off for the Tritons with a delicate touch-kill to end the match. On the night, the Tritons were paced by junior outside hitter Sylvia Schmidt, who tallied 13 kills and five digs, while senior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey and Williamson each recorded eight kills.

    The Tritons seemed to have Sonoma State (15-4, 7-3 CCAA) scouted out perfectly in the first game, as they scored 10 of the first 14 points and led handily through most of the set. Bailey, in pursuit of the UCSD all-time career kills record, totaled six kills in the opening game, including the final three kills, and was a major motivator for the Tritons. Head coach Tom Black felt that his team performed well considering its opponent’s abilities.

    “Sonoma is a good team so we were happy with our success,” Black said. “The first two games I thought we executed really, really well. We had some adversity in the third game with the service line but we responded well.”

    Holding the momentum after the first game, UCSD continued to attack the Seawolves behind the play of senior defensive specialist Michelle Torres. Trailing 5-7, Torres served up 10 straight points as part of an 11-0 run for the Tritons, which brought the score to 16-8. From there, UCSD never looked back, finishing the set with an outstanding .469 attack percentage with 16 kills against just one error.

    Without realizing it at the time, Bailey’s kill to give the Tritons a 24-12 advantage was record-setting. With 1,183 career kills, Bailey took over the UCSD record previously held by former Triton Stacy Dunsmore, who totaled 1,182 kills in her career from 2001-04.

    “I didn’t even know that I had broken it when it happened, but I was extremely excited when I found out,” Bailey said. “It’s something that takes all four years to achieve and not just a game. I think that there are going to be other players that will work hard after me and will probably break it, but I get to hold it for a while which is really special.”

    In the third game, the Tritons were in control 14-10 when Sonoma State started chipping away at the lead. The Seawolves tied the set at 20 and 24, before Bailey and freshman outside hitter Katie Condon put away the last two points for UCSD.

    As a team, the Tritons hit a season-high .408 clip, the highest percentage since 2004. They were paced by record-setter Bailey, who finished with a match-high 19 kills on .486 hitting and Condon, who recorded eight kills on .615 hitting. Chen continued to be an on-court leader, chipping in 45 assists, six digs and two kills. After the game, Black attributed much of the Tritons’ success to their preparation.

    “We had a pretty specific scouting report and the girls did a great job of following it,” Black said.

    The Tritons look to continue their winning form next week when they travel to Cal State Dominguez Hills on Oct. 16 and Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 17.

    Junior outside hitter Sylvia Schmidt recorded 12 kills on .400 hitting against Sonoma State on Oct. 10. One of Schmidt’s kills gave the Tritons a 14-10 lead in the third and final set of the match. (Sanh Luong/Guardian)
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