UCSD in Three

The Triton Women’s Volleyball team cleaned house this weekend, sweeping Cal State Los Angeles in three games on Friday and Cal State Dominguez Hills in three games on Saturday for its fourth and fifth consecutive wins, putting the team at 15-4 overall and 11-4 in the CCAA.

Friday’s contest was a test of maturity for the team, with freshman setter Amber Hawthorne and freshman middle hitter Lauren Demos either hitting their spots or missing badly.

After squandering a significant lead in the first game, senior Katie Condon picked up the play, taking point after point to rally her teammates for the win.

Keeping the Tritons up through games two and three, Condon again put the team on her back as the Tritons, ranked third in the CCAA and No. 18 nationally, struggled internally, and were just able to squeak past bottom of the league CSU Los Angeles.

“We had a sense of unity on the court,” said McCutchan. “We’re getting better and better every game and we’ll only improve against Dominguez, too.”

Saturday, the team stepped onto the floor with a totally different attitude. Despite the Tritons playing down to Cal State Los Angeles’ level on Friday, they came together and coordinated a vicious assault on a defenseless Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Game one got off to a rocky start, with the lead changing hands several times before the Tritons hit their stride and distanced themselves from the Toros.

After the first few points UCSD held the lead with solid play, ending with senior hitter Roxanne Brunsting making a definitive kill to finish off game one 17-25.

Junior outside hitter Natasha Wilroy got game two off to a good start with some great kill defense and a diving one-handed save, giving the Tritons their first point of the game.

Senior outside hitter Hillary Williamson quickly supported her defensively active teammate with two great heads-up plays to put the Tritons in the lead 3-1, a position they would hold in every game through the end of the match.

The rest of game two was a battle for the Tritons. Freshman middle hitter Lauren Demos had two total whiffs after good sets from her teammates, but followed these up with good defensive play and three kills. The freshman seemed to get her head down and on several occasions stole balls Condon had called for herself, bringing the team out of position.

The erratic play stood in contrast to Condon’s consistency. The senior kept a level head, distributing balls well with excellent court vision and setting up the game point with a brilliant dink over the Toro defenders.
Game three was a true test for the young Triton team, as head coach Ricci Luyties made a line change late in the game, bringing on four freshmen: Lauren Demos, setter Amber Hawthorne, hitter Rachelle Kinney and Lizzy Andrews.
While the team struggled with the young line-up — Andrews missed two serves and Demos whiffed an easy kill — they pulled out the win with the help of a Condon block.

The game came to an anti-climactic close as the Toros were called for a positioning foul and abruptly ended the game.

Though putting all four freshmen on the floor may have been a bit ambitious of Luyties, the underclassmen did exceptionally well when surrounded by their All-American teammates.
Hawthorne had 14 assists off 55 sets, Demos had 8.5 points and Kinney had three kills on only three attempts.

With a 15-4 overall record, the Tritons are ranked third in the CCAA. UCSD’s next match is slated for Friday, Oct. 28 against Chico State.