Photo by: Mark Cooley/Sideline Studios
Heidi Sierks registered a career-high 56 assists against Cal Poly Pomona last Saturday.
UCSD Back on the Road to Start Final Five Push
Release: Thursday 11/14/2013 

Match 26
at Cal State Monterey Bay (17-9, 11-7 CCAA)
Friday, Nov. 15 • 7:00 p.m.
The Kelp Bed • Seaside
Live Stats
Live Video

Match 27
at Cal State East Bay (11-15, 7-11 CCAA)
Saturday, Nov. 16 • 7:00 p.m.
Pioneer Gymnasium • Hayward
Live Stats

UCSD students are admitted free to all regular season home volleyball matches. General admission tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for visiting students, seniors and UCSD Alumni Association members. Tickets are available at the main entrance to RIMAC Arena on the night of the match.

For the third straight week, UCSD won both of its CCAA matches, sweeping Humboldt State and downing Cal Poly Pomona in five sets. Sara McCutchan led all players with 11 kills and 13.5 points against the Lumberjacks, tying a NCAA record by hitting 1.000. The Tritons dominated the attack, holding a .350 to .069 advantage. They also held sizable spreads in digs (72-44) and blocks (8-1). The next night against the Broncos, Caitlin Brenton led the way with 27 kills, 14 digs and 33 points, all career-highs. Heidi Sierks amassed a career-best 56 assists, Brittany Lombardi had a season-high 33 digs and McCutchan added another 17 kills to her weekly total. UCSD hit .259 to CPP's .144 and out-dug its opponent 106 to 89. It was the second time this season that the Tritons needed five sets to defeat the Broncos.

Sara McCutchan posted a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage against Humboldt State on Nov. 8, putting away 11 kills with no errors in 11 attacks. The mark set CCAA and UCSD records and tied the NCAA Division II record for highest hitting percentage with at least 10 attempts. She is the seventh player to accomplish the feat. McCutchan earned CCAA Player of the Week honors for her performances against HSU and Cal Poly Pomona, the first Triton to win the award this season.

With 17 digs against Humboldt State on Nov. 8, senior libero Brittany Lombardi went over 1,000 for her career. She is the ninth Triton in program history to accomplish the feat. Lombardi added 33 more scoops to her total the next night against Cal Poly Pomona, giving her 1,034 for her career. She needs just six more to take over the eighth place spot on UCSD's career list. Her 488 digs this year rank fourth on the school's single season list. Natalie Facchini owns the record with 555 in 2007. Lombardi has registered at least 20 digs in 11 of her last 14 matches.

At 14-3, UCSD sits in second place in the CCAA, behind Cal State San Bernardino (16-1). Sonoma State (14-4) is third, Cal State Monterey Bay (11-7) is fourth, Chico State (10-8) is fifth, Cal State L.A. (9-9) is sixth, Cal Poly Pomona (8-10) is seventh, Cal State East Bay (7-11) and San Francisco State (7-11) are tied for eighth, Humboldt State (5-13) is 10th, Cal State Stanislaus (4-14) is 11th and Cal State Dominguez Hills (2-16) is 12th.

The top 12 remained the same in this week's AVCA national poll, with the Tritons coming in at No. 12. Concordia-St. Paul, Tampa and Minnesota Duluth are 1-2-3. Cal State San Bernardino dropped from 13th to 14th and Sonoma State dropped from 14th to 16th. UC San Diego has been ranked as high as eighth and as low as 22nd this season.

For the second straight week, UCSD is first in the NCAA's West Region ranking, released on Nov. 13. The Tritons are followed by BYU-Hawaii, Cal State San Bernardino, Sonoma State, Western Washington, Central Washington, California Baptist, Alaska Anchorage, Dixie State and Northwest Nazarene. The third and final regional rankings will be released on Nov. 20 and the 64 NCAA Tournament selections will be announced on Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. Pacific.

Heidi Sierks has totaled at least 42 assists in 13 of her last 16 matches, which included a career-high 56 against Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 9 ... Caitlin Brenton's 27 kills, 49 attacks, 14 digs and 33 points against Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 9 were all career-highs ... Sophie Rowe recorded her 500th career kill vs. Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 9 ... Rowe tallied her 500th career dig the night before against Humboldt State ... Sara McCutchan's 20.5 points vs. Cal Poly Pomona on Nov. 9 were a season-high ... McCutchan recorded her 500th career kill this season ... Danielle Dahle has totaled at least 10 kills in 19 of 25 matches ... She eclipsed 500 career kills and 500 career digs this season ... Dahle's 21 digs vs. Cal State Monterey Bay on Oct. 12 were a career-high ... Five Tritons have totaled a combined 41 double-doubles this season, including Sierks (15), Dahle (12), Rowe (11), Amber Hawthorne (2) and Brenton (1) ... UCSD's win at San Francisco State on Sept. 20 moved the team to 9-0, equaling the best start in program history ... The Tritons are 12-1 at home, 6-2 on the road and 4-0 at neutral sites this season ... The team is coming off a seven-match home stand in which it posted a 6-1 record, winning its last six.

As a team, UCSD ranks 10th in kills/set (14.12), 12th in assists/set (13.16), 16th in digs/set (18.21) and won-loss percentage (.880), 20th in blocks/set (2.38) and 29th in hitting percentage (.235). Sara McCutchan is 15th in hitting percentage (.363), Brittany Lombardi is 34th in digs/set (5.19) and Kameron Cooper is 35th in blocks/set (1.09). (only players ranked in the top 50 are listed)

In the league, UCSD ranks first in digs/set (18.21), second in kills/set (14.12), assists/set (13.16), blocks/set (2.38) and points/set (17.7), third in hitting percentage (.235), and ninth in aces/set (1.18). Sara McCutchan is second in hitting percentage (.363) and sixth in blocks/set (0.91), Brittany Lombardi is second in digs/set (5.19), Kameron Cooper is third in blocks/set (1.09), Caitlin Brenton is fourth in blocks/set (1.02) and 10th in hitting percentage (.267) and Heidi Sierks is fifth in assists/set (9.74). (only players ranked in the top 10 are listed)

UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties is in his fourth season leading the Tritons. Over his first three campaigns in La Jolla, he registered a 61-26 overall record, good for a .701 win percentage. Entering 2013, Luyties has paced UCSD to a 47-19 (.712) mark in CCAA play. Prior to coming to UCSD, Luyties spent six seasons as the head coach at Southern Mississippi. A two-time All-American setter and Hall of Fame member at UCLA, he helped the Bruins win four consecutive national titles between 1981 and 1984. UCLA posted an amazing 126-7 record, which included a pair of undefeated seasons, during Luyties' career. A two-time NCAA Most Valuable Player, his No. 11 UCLA jersey was retired in 1996. A member of the U.S. National Team from 1981-88, Luyties won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. On the beach, Luyties competed regularly on the AVP Tour and FIVB World Tour for 12 years, partnering with the likes of Karch Kiraly and Adam Johnson.

UCSD was picked to finish second in the 2013 CCAA standings by the league's coaches. Topping the poll was seven-time defending champion Cal State San Bernardino. Following the Tritons, in order, were Sonoma State, Cal State L.A., Chico State, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, San Francisco State, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State Stanislaus and Humboldt State.

Cal State Monterey Bay enters Friday's match at 17-9 overall and 11-7 in the CCAA, good for fourth place. The Otters have won four straight, including a 3-1 topping of Cal State East Bay on Tuesday at The Kelp Bed. Julia Ashen leads the team in kills, averaging 4.50/set. Rachel Cookus averages 4.47 digs/set and DJ Gresham-Ryder averages a team-best 0.89 blocks/set. CSUMB is second in the league in digs/set, just behind UCSD.

UCSD holds a commanding 17-2 all-time record against Cal State Monterey Bay. The Tritons have won the last four match-ups, including a five-set victory on Oct. 12 at RIMAC Arena. Sara McCutchan had 16 kills and Caitlin Brenton had nine blocks for UCSD. The Otters got 25 kills out of Jessica Malcolm and 22 kills and 21 digs from Julia Ashen.

Cal State East Bay enters the week at 11-15 overall and 7-11 in the CCAA, tied with San Francisco State for eighth place. The Pioneers have won four of their last five, dropping a four-set decision against Cal State Monterey Bay on Tuesday. Suzy Ni Xu is averaging a team-high 2.68 kills/set, Veronica Sanchez averages 5.19 digs/set and Kitona Offord is blocking 0.63 balls/set. CSUEB is second in the CCAA in aces/set, averaging 1.58.

UCSD leads the all-time series against Cal State East Bay by a 13-3 count. The Tritons took a 3-1 victory in the inaugural Reis Cup at RIMAC Arena on Oct. 11. Danielle Dahle, the match MVP, had 15 kills, 12 digs and three aces. For the Pioneers, Suzy Ni Xu posted a match-high 16 kills.

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We want to reward you for posting your creative photos showing Triton spirit. Tweet, Facebook or Instagram your pics and include our #TritonsRising hashtag. At the end of every month, we'll pick our favorite photos and dole out some swag to the winners!

Looking ahead to a busy next week, the Tritons wrap up regular season play with three matches. On Wednesday, Nov. 20, league-leader Cal State San Bernardino visits RIMAC Arena. On Friday, Nov. 22, UCSD plays at Cal State L.A. before hosting Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday, Nov. 23.


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