Block Party

    On Friday, the UCSD Women’s Volleyball team took one of its most commanding wins of the season against No. 23 Sonoma State.

    While the Seawolves are ranked lower nationally than UCSD, they have a better CCAA record (16-2) than the Tritons (13-4), and much of their success has been due to the offensive strength of Seawolf freshman Kelsey Hull, who had 11 kills and 30 spikes even in their loss against UCSD.

    The Tritons dug themselves into a hole in game one, quickly falling behind by three on a handful of errors. However, they rallied back to tie the game at eight on a kill from senior Roxanne Brunsting, just as the Seawolves started to show the first signs of weakness by committing several errors in a row after two massive Hull kills.

    Hull rallied her own team and pulled ahead by four, which put the Tritons on their heels and forced head coach Ricci Luyties to call a time out.

    The Tritons came out guns blazing and fought tooth and nail to tie the game once more at 19 on a Seawolf serving error, taking the lead 20-19 off another Brunsting kill. Brunsting continued to lead her team down the home stretch as she picked up three kills and an excellent serve that was handled poorly by the Seawolves, allowing freshman Sara McCutchan the game-winning kill.

    Game two also saw the Tritons trailing at the start, as they committed errors to hand the lead to the Seawolves and failed to force an error from their opposition. Again, Luyties called a timeout, with the score at 3-8 in favor of Sonoma State.

    Senior Hillary Williamson and Brunsting came out of the timeout strong, taking a kill and a block to set the tempo. The Tritons marched back to tie the game at 11, thanks to a service ace by freshman Lauren Demos and a brilliant block on the part of senior Julia Freidenberg that tamed Hall’s attack.

    Brunsting and senior Katie Condon led a defensive drive to keep the game close until they were faced with several Hull kills, leading to another timeout.

    Coach Luyties said that this was the most important call of the game.

    “It was key for the comeback, it would have been a different situation if we let them in, let them get a game,” Luyties said.

    The timeout got the Tritons back on track, as Condon came out with two kills and a smoking service ace, while Brunsting had several blocks and a handful of kills to take the game 26-24.

    In game three, Freidenberg put on a clinic, taking the demoralized Seawolves for point after point.
    Hull and Sonoma senior Keala Peterson, who had nine kills and 40 spikes, kept up a good fight — but the Seawolves couldn’t keep it
    together and committed 10 errors to give the game and the match to the Tritons.

    Errors won and lost the match, with the Seawolves besting the Tritons in kills (40-36) and assists (40-31), but faltering and committing 34 errors to the Tritons’ 17. Thankfully for UCSD, the Tritons’ offensive pressure forced the Seawolves into a number of bad errors.
    Brunsting collected her 1,000th assist of her career, with 17 in the game as well as 14 points and eight kills, while Freidenberg led the team
    with 10 kills, hitting .409.

    On Saturday, the Tritons played unranked Humboldt State (5-15) at RIMAC.

    The game scores are misleading, with 24-26, 14-25 and 27-29 suggesting a tight match against veteran opposition, but the Tritons looked slightly battered from their game against Sonoma, doing only the absolute minimum to squeak past the Lumberjacks.
    Coach Luyties fielded a number of freshmen in the campaign, but was forced to replace the underclassmen with his veterans every time a court full of freshmen fell flat. Condon pounded in 12 kills and 14 points, while Williamson posted 14 kills and 15 points. The leading assists came once more from Brunsting with 21 and freshman Amber Hawthorne with 22.

    This week No. 17 UCSD travels to play the undefeated No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes on Saturday, Nov. 9.

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