UCSD Wins Ninth-Consecutive Match

    WEB_SPORTS-vball925-20090926193933-0-JHWOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL — The No. 3 women’s volleyball team completed a two-game road trip on Oct. 10, going undefeated and watching their star player tie an all-time school record.

    UCSD defeated Humboldt State on Oct. 9 before beating No. 17 Sonoma State on Oct. 10. Senior outside hitter Sylvia Schmidt recorded 31 kills to tie UCSD’s single-match record.

    Halfway through their conference schedule, the Tritons’ record stands at 18-1 as they sit in second place, one game behind the CCAA-leader Cal State San Bernardino.

    UCSD started slow in its match against Humboldt State, unable to pull away from the Lumberjacks. With the score tied at 12-12, UCSD had a breakout set and took a 19-13 lead. Despite the surge, the Lumberjacks slowly fought their way back into the match, pulling within 20-17, but three quick kills by the Tritons closed the game at 25-20 and sealed the first set.

    At the start of the second set the Tritons fell behind but recovered with a 12-2 run to take a 19-10 lead. Down eight points, the Lumberjacks stormed back to come within two points at 20-18, forcing UCSD to take a timeout.

    “We were playing the point,” head coach Tom Black said. “We needed to focus. We were just thinking about what we needed to do next.”

    After the break, the Tritons regained their composure and pulled out a 25-20 victory.

    After nearly upsetting UCSD in each of the first two sets, the Lumberjacks took a commanding third-set lead for their biggest threat of the match. With Humboldt clinging to a 23-21 advantage and the prospect of forcing a fourth set, the Tritons again called a timeout and returned with two straight points to tie the set 23-23. Two points away from a victory, the Tritons came through with an ace and a kill to finish off the Lumberjacks 25-23.

    Oct. 10’s match pitted UCSD against the Sonoma State Seawolves — the Triton’s fourth nationally ranked opponent of the season. The Seawolves provided a serious challenge for UCSD, leaping ahead of the Tritons early in the first set. Despite rallying back to within one point at 20-19, the Tritons couldn’t overcome Sonoma, who held on to win 25-21. UCSD had not lost a single set in either of their previous three games.

    In the second set, the Tritons and Seawolves played close as the teams battled to a 27-26 set point for UCSD. It was the only set point of the game for the Tritons, but strong hitting from the Seawolves gave them the second set win of the night at 30-28. The loss was the first time the Tritons had dropped two sets in a match since Sept. 18.

    “They were playing really well,” Black said. “They are a good team, and we were a little uncomfortable.”

    After the break, the Tritons came out resilient, taking a 15-3 lead as Schmidt went on a spectacular serving streak. There was little stopping the Tritons’ relentless assault as they handily defeated the Seawolves 25-7.

    The Seawolves never held a lead in the fourth set, but stayed close throughout the game.

    The Tritons were able to pull away late in the set and defeated the Seawolves 25-22 to force a decisive fifth set.

    “I think from the second half of game two, we had control of the match,” Black said. “We were playing more like ourselves again and we really had our rhythm going into the third set.”

    In the fifth set, the Tritons went up 4-0 before the Seawolves could get on the board. With strong serving, the Tritons took a 10-1 lead and cruised through the rest of the match, winning 15-6 to cap an impressive turnaround victory. The comeback win was sparked by UCSD’s offensive attack, which included Schmidt’s record performance. Her 31 kills were the most since former Triton Janet Hughes notched the same number in a game on Oct. 23, 1987.

    The Tritons return home next weekend as they face Cal Poly Pomona on Oct. 16 and No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino on Oct. 17.

    “I’m looking forward to next weekend,” Black said. “It’s a high profile game, and it’s what college volleyball is about.”

    Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected].

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