Sweep Tide

    Stuck in program’s worst losing streak since 1992, the Tritons didn’t just want a win; they needed one. The UCSD women’s volleyball team duly delivered this weekend with wins over Cal State Los Angeles and Cal State Dominguez Hills. The first victory snapped the Triton’s five-game losing streak, and the pressure lifted almost visibly off the squad’s shoulders.

    “It feels wonderful,” head coach Ricci Luyties said. “I’m going to be able to sleep tonight.”

    UCSD defeated No. 23 Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 1 in a 3–1 decision.

    “It feels great,” junior libero Janessa Werhane said. “It feels like we’re playing as a team again. I think the hard work in practice this week paid off tonight.”

    Junior outside hitter Katie Condon contributed 12 kills and 19 digs as the Tritons defeated the Golden Eagles 22–25, 25–22, 25–16, 25–21 — their first victory in nearly three weeks. Senior middle blocker Kaitlin Potter also added 12 kills, and Werhane tallied 19 digs for UCSD.

    The Tritons were able to remain calm after losing the first set, refusing to yield any of the next three sets despite trailing in each one.

    All-American junior outside hitter Roxanne Brunsting returned to the lineup after recovering from an ankle injury, and senior outside hitter Hilary Williamson was in her second game back after also missing time due to injury.

    “We’ve had a few freshmen doing a pretty good job for us back there,” Luyties said. “But getting Roxy Brunsting and Hilary Williamson back gives us a little bit more calm. It helps us mentally, knowing they are out there.”

    Brunsting tallied 12 digs in her return, and Williamson added 10 of her own.

    The Golden Eagles ended the Tritons’ season last year with their 3–0 win in the NCAA West Regional Semifinals, but Luyties stressed that Friday’s game was not a grudge match.

    “We weren’t thinking about Cal State Los Angeles as anyone special, just our next opponent,” Luyties said. “We had just one goal: Get off our losing streak and win.”

    UCSD out hit the Golden Eagles on the match — .214 to .162 — and totaled eight aces.

    The Tritons were able to stay on the winning side with a 26–24, 25–20, 25–20 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills the following night.

    Condon had 12 kills and 10 digs, Werhane contributed a game high of 20 digs and the Tritons got the victory despite playing sloppily at times.

    “We’ll take any win we can right now,” Luyties said. “Coming off last night’s win, I wanted them to stay away from complacency. It was not our best match but I’ll take it.”

    Setter Thalia McCann added 30 assists and 11 kills for the match.

    The Tritons trailed by as many as five in the first set, but rallied to tie the set at 22 apiece. After hitting errors by both teams, Potter hit a straight-down kill to win the first set for the Tritons.

    The Tritons gave themselves a comfortable lead in both the second and third sets, but each time the Toros cut the lead down to two. UCSD managed to get the final points in each set to avoid having to move to a fourth frame.

    The win moved the Tritons above the .500 mark to 7–6 overall on the season, including 4–5 in CCAA play. Cal State Dominguez Hills dropped to 1–11 overall and 1–6 in the CCAA.

    While four of the five losses in the streak came on the road, Luyties emphasized that travel was no excuse.

    “It always helps being at home, and fans can always give some kind of lift, but I don’t think it was a home-away thing,” Luyties said. “I just think it was not closing out games.”

    The Tritons will host Cal State San Bernardino next Friday at 7 p.m. The Coyotes currently sit atop the conference standings with a 12–1 record, including an unblemished 9­–0 mark in the CCAA. UCSD will welcome Cal Poly Pomona the following night at the same time.

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