No. 2 CS San Bernardino Sweeps No. 19 CS L.A. to Clinch Title Tie


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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Cal State San Bernardino literally blocked out Cal State L.A. Friday night, sweeping the Golden Eagles, 3-0, before a raucous crowd of nearly 700 fans in Coussoulis Arena to clinch a tie for a third straight CCAA conference volleyball title.

The Coyotes are now 24-3 overall, 16-3 in the CCAA with only cellar-dwelling Cal State Dominguez Hills (3-24, 2-17) standing in the way of CSUSB's bid to host the 2008 NCAA West Regional on Nov. 20-22 and sole possession of the CCAA championship banner.

The Coyotes prevailed 25-20, 25-18 and 25-22 over the Golden Eagles, ranked No. 7 in the West Region and No. 19 in the nation, avenging a 3-1 loss to L.A. earlier in the season.
And they did it with a spectacular blocking effort at the net with five solo blocks and 18 block assists, forcing L.A. into 22 attack errors.

Freshman middle blocker Samantha Middleborn led the defense with two solo blocks and seven block assists while senior Sara Rice, the CCAA player of the week, had two solos and two block assists while putting down eight kills on .444 hitting.

All-American right-side hitter Jessica Granados used her wicked left arm to a match-high 14 kills on 28 attacks for .357 hitting and assisted on four blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Jane Chafeh stepped up her game with 10 kills on .389 hitting with three blocks, one of them solo.

Junior attacker Gabriela Bulawczyk led the Golden Eagles with 12 kills and nine digs. Lindsay Laakso had nine kills and nine digs. The Golden Eagles hit just .192 against the Coyotes who hit .293 for the match.

Sara Hoffman had 37 assists while her counterpart Keslie Brown of L.A. had 27 assists.
Cal State L.A. is now 20-6 overall and 13-6 in the CCAA heading into their regular season finale at Cal Poly Pomona.

The first set was close until the middle of the set when freshman defensive specialist Kelcie Tolan gave the Coyotes breathing room as they pulled away from a 15-14 lead to lead 19-14 on a service ace. Leading 23-20, the Coyotes closed out the set on back-to-back kills by Granados.

There were four tie scores in the second set, but L.A. never led and CSUSB broke a 10-10 with five straight points off Tolan's serve to lead 15-10 on a solo block by Middleborn.
CSUSB got some help to close out the second set from the Golden Eagles who made two attack errors while trailing 23-18 after a kill by Chafeh.

Set three was a see-saw battle with 10 ties and nine lead changes, the last at 19-19 on a kill by Rice from Hoffman. Chafeh then hit back-to-back kills for a 21-19 lead. A solo block by Rice gave CSUSB a 22-20 lead and Middleborn and Hoffman combined on a stuff for a 23-20 advantage.

The teams exchanged points until Granados finished the match with a kill off a serve by Kaylynne De La Rosa after L.A. had closed to 24-22 on a kill by Laakso.

The third straight CCAA title gives CSUSB six conference crowns in last eight years. For seniors like Rice and Granados it enables them to duplicate the three straight titles won in 2001, 2002 and 2003 by teams led by all-Americans Kim Morohunfola and Kim Ford.

The NCAA Div. II championships committee will select the eight teams that will advance to the West Regional on Sunday night and name the host site. If CSUSB is the No. 1 seed and host, it will be the third straight year that the Coyotes have hosted the tournament.

Meanwhile, second-place UC San Diego remained one game behind the Coyotes at 15-4 in the CCAA standings after beating Humboldt State 3-1 Friday night. The Tritons take on Sonoma State at SSU on Saturday night in a battle of regionally-ranked teams.

Article courtesy of San Bernardino athletics.

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