- The eighth-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team suffered its
first loss of the season on Saturday, falling 3-1 to Western Washington on the
final day of the Phoenix Inn GNAC Conference Classic hosted by Western Oregon
The Tritons won the opening set but the Vikings would rally to take the next
three and hand UCSD a 25-19, 27-29, 22-25, 24-26 loss. UCSD falls to 2-1 on the
season, while WWU improves to 3-0. The Vikings swept No. 10 Metro State and
Humboldt State in tournament play on Friday.
Saturday's loss marks the Tritons' first regular season nonconference defeat
since they dropped a 3-1 decision to defending national champion and No.
1-ranked Concordia-St. Paul to open the 2008 campaign. UCSD was a perfect 8-0
in nonconference action last season.
Marlayna Geary tallied a match-high 21 kills for Western Washington, while
Kathryn Mertns added 20 and Emily Jepsen finished with 16. Allison Gotz led the
Vikings with a match-high 27 digs.
UCSD came out of the gates strong, taking a 12-5 lead in the opening set
following a service ace from Julia Freidenberg and a Williamson kill. WWU closed
to within 16-14 on an attack error by Brunsting, but consecutive Viking errors
gave the Tritons a four-point cushion at 18-14. Five consecutive kills gave
UCSD a 24-17 advantage and Williamson sent down the final point after WWU had
pulled to within 24-19 on a kill by Mertns.
The Tritons led 18-13 following a Brunsting kill in set two, but Western
Washington came roaring back and took a 23-22 advantage on a kill from Jepsen. The
two squads traded the next eight points until Geary's kill tied the score at 27
all. Mertns followed with back-to-back kills to win the set for the Vikings and
tie the match at 1-1.
Set three was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than three
points. Trailing 21-20, UCSD rallied back to take a 22-21 lead on a kill by Audrey Green, but three straight Triton errors made it 24-22 in favor of the Vikings
and Geary sent down the deciding kill.
Western Washington was in control early on in the fourth, taking a 16-10 lead
on a kill by Jepsen. The Tritons trailed 19-14, but came back to tie it at 20
on an error by Mertns. UCSD tied the score again at 24 all after a error by
Laurie Yearout, but two straight kills from Geary wrapped up the match for the
Western Washington hit just .199 for the match, but UCSD could manage only a
.167 clip on the other side. The Vikings out-blocked the Tritons 15-9, while
UCSD held a 4-1 ace advantage.
Head coach Ricci Luyties' squad will look to bounce back later tonight against
host Western Oregon, as UCSD concludes the Phoenix Inn GNAC Challenge.