SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's volleyball team's season came to an end Friday in upsetting fashion as 23rd-ranked Sonoma State downed the No. 15 Tritons 3-1 in an NCAA West Regional semifinal. Scores were 25-12, 25-17, 16-25 and 25-20 at Coussoulis Arena on the campus of Cal State San Bernardino.
With the victory, third-seeded Sonoma State (23-6) advances to Saturday's West Regional title match and will take on undefeated No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino (29-0), which beat BYU-Hawaii (19-4) in four sets in Friday's other semifinal.
The winner of Saturday's West Region title contest advances to the NCAA National Championships Dec. 1-3.
UCSD, the 15th-ranked squad in the country and second seed in the West Regional, was making its sixth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. The Tritions finished the season with a 22-6 overall record.
Sonoma State had 55 kills to UC San Diego's 42 and out-hit the Tritons .237 (55-18-156) to .155 (42-19-148). The Seawolves aced the Tritons seven times and held a slight 81 to 76 edge in digs.
UCSD was led by Hillary Williamson with 16 kills on .361 hitting. Four players had 10 or more digs including Williamson (19), Janessa Werhane (19), Roxanne Brunsting (14) and Katie Condon (14). Rachelle Kinney had five blocks and Sara McCutchan totaled four stuffs.
Keala Peterson was the story of the match for Sonoma as she finished with a match-high 22 kills while adding 17 digs. Taylor Krenwinkel led all players with 21 digs.
SSU scored six of the first seven points of the match to set the tone for the rest of the frame. A later six-point run gave Sonoma a 20-6 lead that proved insurmountable for the Tritons. The 12 points put on the board by UCSD were the fewest of the season. The second-lowest was 13, also in a first set against Sonoma State this season.
The Seawolves came right back out swinging, building up a commanding 10-2 lead in the second set. Once again, Sonoma State owned six of the first seven points in the set. Down 13-6, UCSD ripped four straight points to get back within three at 13-10. Werhane had two service aces in the run. The Seawolves picked up the next three points and a later run of four points put the set out of reach as Sonoma State took a 20-12 lead.
The third set finally saw the Tritons get something going. It started out similar to the first two frames with the Seawolves winning four of the first five points. A block by Williamson and Julia Freidenberg tied the match for the first time at 9-9. A bad set by Sonoma State gave the Tritons their first lead of the match at 12-11 and five more unanswered points put UCSD up by a score of 17-11. A seven-point run put the set on ice for UCSD as it gave the Tritons a 24-14 lead. Kinney and McCutchan each had two blocks in the waning stages of set three and a block by Williamson and Freidenberg gave the set to the Tritons.
The score stayed tight a good part of the fourth set, but the Tritons were never able to take a lead. The score was even for the final time at 14-14, but a Allyson Sather kill and a bad set by UCSD put the Seawolves back up by two at 16-14. Five more unanswered points would put SSU up 23-17. That's when Petersen took over, bringing it to match point with a cross court kill and capping the win for Sonoma State with a deep service ace.
The teams split the regular season series as UC San Diego swept Sonoma State at RIMAC Arena on Nov. 4 and the Seawolves downed the Tritons 3-1 in Rohnert Park on Oct. 1. UCSD has won six of the last eight meetings against SSU.
At the 2010 NCAA West Regional, UC San Diego knocked Sonoma State out of the postseason with a 3-0 sweep in the opening round.
It was the final career match for Brunsting, Condon, Freidenberg, Werhane, Williamson and Natasha Wilroy.
Story Update (11/19): Cal State San Bernardino swept Sonoma State Saturday by scores of 25-14, 25-17 and 26-24 to win the West Region and advance to the NCAA National Championships.
ALL-WEST REGION TOURNAMENT TEAM
Camille Smith, Cal State San Bernardino
Morgan Carty, Cal State San Bernardino
Ying Chun Chen, BYU-Hawaii
Lauren Hagemeyer, BYU-Hawaii
Kayla Peterson, Sonoma State
Kelsey Hull, Sonoma State
Katie Condon, UC San Diego
Julia Freidenberg, UC San Diego
Nikki Lowell, Seattle Pacific
Rachael Thornquist, Hawaii Hilo
Brooke Blomenkamp, Grand Canyon
Robyn Burton, Alaska Anchorage
- UCSDtritons.com -