SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The 22nd-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team launched its 2013 campaign Friday with a pair of sweeps at the Coyote Classic, taking down No. 24 Central Washington and No. 13 Regis in straight sets.
In the first match of the day, UCSD defeated CWU by scores of 25-20, 25-23 and 25-17 at The Den. It was the opening contest of the season for both teams.
Danielle Dahle (La Mesa/Grossmont HS), the 2012 AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year, paced UCSD with a double-double, amassing a match-high 15 kills while adding 11 digs. The sophomore outside hit a solid .364 (15-3-33).
Sara McCutchan, a junior middle blocker, totaled 10 kills, two service aces and five block assists, a match-best. She also had a strong attack, finishing at .333 (10-3-21).
Junior setter Amber Hawthorne had 27 assists in 33 sets, a pair of aces and seven digs. Sophomore outside Sophie Rowe recorded six kills and 10 digs, while senior libero Brittany Lombardi led all players with 18 digs.
For CWU, Rachel Hanses had 11 kills and seven digs, Emmy Dolan finished with nine kills and Kaely Kight had 14 digs.
UCSD posted a .183 attack, putting down 44 kills with 22 errors in 120 attempts. Early season inconsistency plagued the Wildcats, who hit just .086 with 31 kills and 21 errors in 116 swings. The Tritons improved as the match went on, hitting .038 (7-6-26) in the first set, .160 (18-10-50) in the second and .295 (19-6-44) in the third.
The first frame was by far the most competitive. At 15-15, UCSD scored seven of the next eight points to go up by a score of 22-16. The Tritons never trailed in sets two and three, jumping out to 5-0 and 4-0 leads, respectively.
Scores against Regis (Colo.) at Coussoulis Arena were 25-21, 25-13 and 25-17.
McCutchan was huge again, hitting .526 with a match-co-high 12 kills. She also chipped in with two aces and five digs. Rowe matched her with 12 kills and two aces while adding seven digs and three block assists.
Sophomore setter Heidi Sierks tallied the lone double-double of the match with 17 assists and 13 digs. Both Dahle and Lombardi equaled her dig total. Sophomore middle blocker Kameron Cooper blocked a match-best five balls.
Caitie Breaux had 11 kills and Maya Kirkeby finished with a match-high 17 digs for the Rangers.
The Tritons upped the potency of their attack, totaling 44 kills and 15 errors in 115 attempts, good for a .252 hitting percentage. Similar to their earlier match, they increased their hitting efficiency as play moved on, ending with a .414 (15-3-29) in the final set.
Also similar to the Central Washington match, UCSD's opponent struggled offensively. Regis mustered just an .064 (27-19-125) attack.
In the first set, the Rangers rolled to an early 4-0 lead. Down by a 17-12 count, the Tritons took nine of the next 11 points to go up 21-19 and they would not trail again. Set two was all UCSD. The Tritons were never behind as they got out to a 6-2 advantage. A Dahle kill put UCSD ahead for good at 5-4 in the final frame.
"I was happy with our efforts today because even when we weren't playing our best, we found ways to win," said fourth-year UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties. "Whenever we got behind or the game was close, we came up with big plays to turn the momentum in our favor. Our blocking and defense was solid all day."
Action at the Coyote Classic, hosted by Cal State San Bernardino, wraps up Saturday. UCSD (2-0) plays Harding at noon and Seattle Pacific at 7:30 p.m. The SPU match will be covered by live stats. For a full schedule and results from all tourney matches, click here.