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October 14, 2011 > UC San Diego edges Cal State East Bay in thriller

UC San Diego edges Cal State East Bay in thriller

Submitted By Kelly Hayes

The Cal State East Bay volleyball team took the first two sets from No. 16 UC San Diego before the Tritons pulled off an astounding comeback to claim a 3-2 (21-25, 20-25, 25-12, 25-21, 15-13) victory in five sets on October 8 at Pioneer Gym. Though the Pioneers (10-6, 5-6 CCAA) out-hit UCSD and had three players post double-digit kills, the Tritons (11-4, 7-4) won the final three sets to avoid extending their losing streak to four matches and finish the first half of the conference season with a win.

In a match where neither team hit at a high percentage, the Pioneers finished with 57 kills - their third-highest total this season - to out-do the Tritons, whose kills per set average entering the week ranked 12th in all of Division II. Sophomore Katie Allen and juniors Nicole Boyle and Kitona Offord led the way, combining for 43 of East Bay's 57 putaways. The trio provided a balanced attack for the Pioneers, who got 46 assists from junior Kristin Neary, her second highest total of the season. Allen laid down 16 kills and notched 10 digs, while Boyle had 14 kills and 17 digs leading to a pair of double-doubles, their fifth and sixth of the season, respectively. Offord was again efficient on the attack, leading all players by hitting at a .312 clip with 13 kills and posting a match-high five total blocks.

In the back row, Leslie Ray posted a team-high 25 kills and got help from Boyle and Allen, as well as Tatum Bales, who came off the bench to provide some stellar defense with 17 digs, a new season-high for the sophomore. Neary also posted a double-double, adding 13 digs to her 46 assists and two total blocks. UC San Diego managed just one more block than the Pioneers, who got help in the middle from Morgan Hirzel with three blocks and six kills and Samantha Bruno, who tallied five kills and one block assist.

UCSD's Hillary Williamson and Lauren Demos paced the team with 14 and 12 kills, respectively. Williamson completed the double-double with 26 digs to lead the team, while three other players - Brittany Lombardi, Roxanne Brunsting and Janessa Werhane - posted double-figure digs to allow the Tritons to live up to their top ranking in the conference in digs per set. Brunsting and Amber Hawthorne shared the setting duties, dishing out 26 and 21 assists, respectively. Both Brunsting and Williamson posted solo blocks to help the Tritons finish with an 8-7 advantage at the net. UC San Diego also took advantage of a poor serving night from the Pioneers, who had 13 service errors, while dropping in eight aces of its own, led by Williamson's four.

Cal State East Bay will look to start off the second half of the CCAA campaign on a high note, as it takes to the road next weekend to meet Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State LA for the rematches of the league opening set. The Pioneers and Toros are set for a 6 p.m. first serve in Carson on Oct. 14, while the Golden Eagles will look to complete the season sweep at 7 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Los Angeles.

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