Up-And-Down Weekend for Triton Volleyball

Michael Tsai / Guardian

Friday night’s game featured two squads whose fortunes have gone in opposite directions this season. Both UCSD and CSUSB started the season in the top 10, but only the Coyotes have stayed there with a stellar 13-1 record.

The Tritons came out strong and made San Bernardino look average in the first set, winning by the comfortable score of 25-17. However, it was all downhill from there for the Tritons, and the Coyotes won the next three sets, 18-25, 22-25 and 12-25.

The Tritons hit .321 in the first set, but were unable to maintain that mark and ended with a .188 clip for the match. Junior outside hitter Katie Condon led the Tritons with 11 kills, while junior Roxy Brunsting had nine kills, 16 assists and 12 digs. CSUSB’s Nicole Moore had a match-high 18 kills, leading three Coyotes that had double digit kills on the match.

“Game one was a pretty good performance,” head coach Ricci Luyties said. “The rest of the match, I would like to completely forget about.”

Despite shuffling personnel because of injuries this season, Luyties said he feels the team is coming together.

“With all the injuries and people coming in and out, they still haven’t played the positions a lot and gotten used to them,” Luyties said. “I think it’s just a matter of us being inconsistent. I think we come in games and play really well, then we come out and just give up points like crazy at times.”

San Bernardino moved to 13-1 with their win, including a perfect 10-0 in CCAA play.

The Tritons were able to rebound on Saturday night, pulling off a 19-25, 25-22, 25-19 and 25-15 victory over Cal Poly Pomona.

Condon led the way for the Tritons once again, tallying 19 kills, 20 digs and 3 aces. Condon also hit a blistering .354 on the match.

“Katie Condon played really well,” Luyties said. “She had some really good swings and she made some clutch kills for us.”

The win was far from comfortable, as the Tritons started slow and dropped the first set. In a tense second game, the Tritons were able to score three straight points near the end set, taking the game to avoid going down 2-0. The Tritons began to take over in the third set — scoring six of the last seven points in the set — and were completely dominant in the fourth, taking an early lead and maintaining it to win the game and the match.

UCSD improved to 8-7 overall and 5-6 in the CCAA. The Tritons have won three of the last four matches after a five-game losing streak. However, the wins have all been at home, while four of the five losses in the losing streak were on the road. The Tritons now face their first road trip since the skid this weekend.

“I think we are still struggling at times,” Luyties said. “We have a tendency to give up streaks of points that kill us. With time, I think we’ll get through those humps and keep our momentum going. I think that will be the difference between cruising through games and struggling through games like we have been.”

Getting back on the winning side has helped, and Condon said she feels confident going into the road trip.

“We’ve beaten Sonoma and Humboldt before, so we know we can do it,” Condon said. “It helps having everyone back and healthy. These last two weeks, we’ve worked the hardest we have all season. Coach [Luyties] has really focused in on the things that the other teams are doing, and that has helped us.”

The Tritons will travel to Rohnert Park to face Sonoma State on Friday, Oct. 16. UCSD will face Humboldt State the following night in Arcata, Calif.