No. 2 Cal State San Berardino Sweeps UC San Diego


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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Cal State San  Bernardino rallied from the brink of defeat in the first set Saturday night, then dominated UC San Diego in the final two sets for a 3-0 sweep of the Tritons in a CCAA conference women's volleyball match before 645 fans in Coussoulis Arena.

With the victory, the Coyotes regained sole possession of first place in the CCAA with four matches remaining in the regular season in their quest for a third straight conference title. CSUSB is now 13-3 in the CCAA, 21-3 overall while the Tritons fell back into second place at 12-4, 18-5  overall.

The Tritons came in as the co-leader after beating Cal Poly Pomona, 3-2, on Friday night, two nights after the Coyotes were swept by the Broncos, 3-0, the first time CSUSB has been swept since November of 2005, also at the hands of the Broncos.

Saturday night's confrontation was also a battle of the Pacific Region's No. 1 team (UCSD) against the No. 2 team (Coyotes).

All-American Jessica Granados had 15 kills, nine digs and two blocks to lead the Coyotes to the sweep, 27-25, 25-13 and 25-16 against a Tritons team that was pushed hard by the Broncos the night before while CSUSB was playing on three days rest.

Middle blockers Sara Rice and Samantha Middleborn combined for 13 kills and five blocks. Outside hitter Ashtin Hall had six kills, two aces, four digs and two blocks, one of them solo. All-American setter Sara Hoffman had 37 assists.

UCSD was led by senior outside hitter Rebecca Bailey with 15 kills. Sylvia Schmidt had seven kills.

The Tritons hit just .153 against the Coyotes defense.

CSUSB led in digs 42-27 and in blocks 12-2 while commiting just 11 attack errors to 18 for the Tritons.

The match may have turned on an action-packed final series of points in the first set as the Coyotes turned defeat into victory. CSUSB was down 24-22 but tied the set on back-to-back Triton errors. Bailey's kill gave the Tritons another set point at 25-24 but Granados evened it up on a  kill.

Middleborn came through with one of the biggest hits of her first season with CSUSB with a kill off an assist by Hoffman for a 26-25 Coyote lead. Sophomore Jane Chafeh then won the set for the Coyotes with a kill, 27-25.

The set was tied 14 times and there were 10 lead changes in what could easily be called a playoff atmosphere in Coussoulis Arena.

The second set was also nip and tuck with the Coyotes taking an early 11-7 advantage only to have the Tritons fight back to make it 12-11.

However, with freshman Kelcie Tolan serving, the Coyotes rattled off nine straight points for a 21-11 advantage on a kill by Granados and finished out the set 25-13.

In the third set, the Coyotes never trailed and led 18-14 on a block of Bailey's attack by Middleborn and Granados. CSUSB then outscored the Tritons 7-2 for the sweep, 25-16.

UCSD, with its long history of successful volleyball teams, still leads the all-time series 31-14 but the Coyotes and Tritons have split the last 24 meetings, 12-12.

The victory avenged a 3-2 loss to the Tritons in La Jolla in September after leading 2-0 after the second set.  And, CSUSB's last regular season home loss was to the Tritons in 2007.

The next challenge for theCoyotes will be at Sonoma State on Friday night, playing in a gym where the Seawolves have not lost this season (12-0). CSUSB won the first meeting, 3-0, at home. CSUSB will face Humboldt State in Arcata the next night.

The Coyotes are now 12-0 at home this season, 8-0 in the CCAA.    

Article courtesy of Cal State San Bernardino athletics.

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