MONMOUTH, Ore. -
The No. 8 UC San Diego women's volleyball team put the finishing touches on a successful opening weekend on Saturday, sweeping host Western Oregon University in the final game of the Phoenix Inn GNAC Conference Challenge.
Roxanne Brunsting recorded a team-high 10 kills and finished with nine digs, while Katie Condon and Kaitlin Potter tallied eight kills apiece to lead the Tritons to a 25-23, 25-12, 25-18 victory over the host Wolves. UCSD bounced back from a four set loss to Western Washington earlier in the day and wrapped the two-day tournament with a 3-1 record.
Western Oregon falls to 2-3 on the year.
"All in all, it was a pretty good start for us," first year head coach Ricci Luyties said. "We've still got plenty to work on to get ready for next weekend, but I thought we did a lot of things well up here. We would have liked to win all four of our games and I definitely feel like we could have, but we ended the tournament strong and that's important going forward."
UCSD outhit Western Oregon .280 to .134 for the match and held a narrow 6-5 blocking advantage, but the Tritons were clearly the better team throughout after taking control in the opening set.
Trailing 17-15, UCSD came back to tie it at 17 all after two Wolf errors and then took a 21-19 lead following three consecutive service aces by Janessa Werhane. Three more Western Oregon errors and a Condon kill gave the Tritons a 24-20 cushion, but the Wolves closed to within 24-23 on a service ace by Danielle Reese and a kill by Sylvia Herrold. Williamson answered for UCSD, sending down the deciding kill and the Tritons won the first set, 25-23.
It was all UCSD in set two as Luyties' squad scored seven straight points to take a commanding 14-4 lead. Williamson and Julia Freidenberg had back-to-back kills during the stretch to force a WOU timeout and Brunsting would add two big kills of her own, as the Tritons quickly pulled away. Consecutive kills by Thalia McCann and Potter made it 20-6 in favor of UCSD and Condon accounted for the final kill after the Wolves had scored three straight to pull within 24-12.
The Tritons erased any hopes of a Western Oregon comeback in the third set, jumping out to a quick 15-9 margin. Brunsting had a pair of kills early in the set and consecutive attack errors by the Wolves led to the to six-point UCSD advantage. A Reese kill brought WUO to within 16-12, but the Tritons would use a 5-1 run to take a commanding 21-15 edge. Another Brunsting kill made it 23-16 and Alanna Rutan got a kill to bring the score to 24-18. The Wolves' Jorden Burrows followed with an error to seal the victory for UCSD.
Reese finished with a match-high 11 kills and tallied 10 digs for Western Oregon, while Burrows had 14 digs.
Werhane led UCSD with 24 digs and four aces.
The Tritons will now return to La Jolla to open California Collegiate Athletic Association play next weekend. UCSD will host Humboldt State in its 2010 home opener on Friday, before entertaining Sonoma State on Saturday. Both matches will start at 7:00 p.m.