Tritons Split on Opening Day in Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The University of California San Diego women's volleyball team opened its season Friday with a split, sweeping Concord and falling to Regis in five sets on the first day of play at the Seawolf Invitational at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Tritons dominated Concord, winning by scores of 25-8, 25-17, and 25-12. They hit .317 with 29 kills and just three errors in 63 attacks, while holding the Mountain Lions to a -.038 hitting percentage.
UC San Diego had a balanced offense with six players contributing multiple kills. Transfer Emily Hubbard began her Triton career with a match-high seven kills, hitting .700 with no errors in in 10 swings. Gina Cortesi and Sydney Tekstra each had five kills, with Cortesi totaling a match-best 10 points by adding four service aces and a solo block. Alyson Penrose also put down four aces as UC San Diego had 14 in the match, the team's most since also finishing with 14 against Saginaw Valley State in 2009.
UC San Diego was also solid defensively, holding a 28-18 advantage in digs. Penrose had a match-high nine scoops.
Two big runs in the first set had the Tritons leading by 10 points, 14-4. Later up 16-7, UC San Diego scored nine of the final 10 points to take a 1-0 lead in the match. The second frame was much closer. Trailing 10-9, the Tritons rattled off six straight points and would stay ahead the rest of the way. The Mountain Lions took the first point of set three, but that was the lone lead they held in the stanza.
Concord got four kills each from Amber Hall and Sheridan Herron. Lindsay Maddox had nine digs.
The victory moved UC San Diego to 18-2 (.900) in season-opening contests during its 20-years as an NCAA Division II program. It was the first ever meeting between the two squads.
Scores against Regis (3-0) went 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-27, and 15-13 in favor of the Rangers.
Four Tritons hit double figures in kills including Trinity Castaneda (17), Tekstra (14), Cortesi (12), and Hubbard (11). Penrose finished with a career-high 31 digs, which led all players.
UC San Diego led in digs (88-85) and blocks (8.5-7), but its hitting percentage dropped to .215 (71-29-195). Both teams made 11 errors from the service line.
"It was an intense match," said UC San Diego head coach Ricci Luyties. "Both teams extended plays with some great defense. Trinity and Sydney were our go-to players in the match and they came through with some clutch kills to put us in a position to win. If we could have generated some better hitting opportunities on our defensive plays, I feel like the outcome would have gone in our favor."
The Tritons led 7-4 in the deciding set, prompting a Regis timeout. The Rangers came back to score three consecutive points to tie it. It stayed within a point until back-to-back kills by RU's Nikki Kennedy put the Rangers up 13-11, forcing a Triton timeout. Two straight attack errors by Regis, one coming on blocks by Castaneda and Claudia Mathews, saw the score tied once again, 13-13. The match was decided from the service line as UC San Diego committed an error and RU finished it with an ace.
Regis, which hit .223, was led by Kennedy's match-high 18 kills.
Tournament action concludes Saturday with another two matches as UC San Diego takes on Biola at 12:30 p.m. and Alaska Anchorage, the tourney host, at 8:30 p.m. Live video and live stats are available here.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, begin a four-year transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego scholar-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, almost 1,400 UC San Diego scholar-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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