LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The No. 11 UC San Diego women's volleyball team suffered its first conference defeat of the season on Wednesday, falling 3-2 to undefeated and 24th-ranked Cal State East Bay at RIMAC Arena. After dropping the first two sets, the Tritons rallied to tie the match at two, but ultimately lost a neck-and-neck fifth game.
Katie Allen sent down a match-high 20 kills and Roxanne Neely tallied 11 kills, 10 digs and 21 assists to lead the Pioneers to the 27-25, 25-22, 19-25, 22-25, 15-13 victory. With the win, Cal State East Bay improves to 8-0 overall and 3-0 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.
UCSD, which had won three straight entering Wednesday's match, falls to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the CCAA.
Cal State East Bay narrowly outhit UCSD, .218 to .216, but the Pioneers held a 12-7 blocking advantage and finished with six service aces to the Tritons' two.
In addition to Allen and Neely's efforts, Brianna Bryant had double-digit kills for the visitors with 14, while K.C. Walsh finished with 15 digs and 42 assists.
Senior Kaitlin Potter recorded a career-high 18 kills to lead the Tritons, while Katie Condon had 17 kills and 16 digs. Roxanne Brunsting tallied 12 kills and 22 digs, Thalia McCann finished with a career-high 65 assists and Janessa Werhane led UCSD with 28 digs.
The Pioneers were the sharper team early in the first set, taking a 14-8 advantage on a service ace by Lauren Massa. The Tritons would rally back to take a 25-24 lead on two straight kills by Potter and Condon, but Bryant answered with two kills of her own to give CSUEB a 26-25 edge. With Katie Glomb serving at game point, Walsh set up Allen for the deciding kill and the visitors took the first game.
A Potter kill gave UCSD a 13-10 lead early in set two, but CSUEB came back to lead 17-16 following an ace from Glomb. The two teams traded the next several points until Julia Freidenberg's kill made it 22-21 in favor of the Tritons. The Pioneers would score the final four points of the game, however, taking the 2-0 lead.
East Bay looked poised to complete the sweep after intermission, scoring six of the first seven points in game three. The Pioneers took a 13-9 lead on consecutive kills by Neely and Bryant and a Brunsting error made it 15-12. The Tritons refused to roll over though, answering with an 8-1 run capped off by back-to-back Condon Kills to take a 20-16 lead. CSUEB closed to with 23-19 on a kill by Mona Goudarzian, but UCSD scored the next two points to take set three, 25-19.
With momentum on their side, the Tritons jumped all over the Pioneers in the fourth set, taking an early 7-3 lead on consecutive attack errors by Allen. Leading 14-11, UCSD would score five unanswered points to take a commanding 19-11 advantage, but CSUEB came storming back, closing the deficit to just three at 23-20. Brunsting's kill stopped the run for the Tritons and Potter sent down the final point after the Pioneers had pulled to within 24-22.
Back-to-back kills by Condon and Sally Yingst gave UCSD a 7-4 lead in the deciding fifth set, but CSUEB came back to tie the score at 10 on an Allen kill. The two teams traded the next four points until another kill by Allen and a McCann service error gave the visitors a 14-12 cushion. The Tritons closed to within one after a Goudarzian error, but Condon returned the favor on the other side, delivering the match point for the Pioneers.
UCSD hit just .152 in the fifth set, while CSUEB was just slightly better at .172.
The Tritons will look to bounce back when they travel to Northern California to take on Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday night, followed by a matchup with San Francisco State the following night. Both contests are scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.