SEASIDE, Calif. -
For the second time in three nights, the 11th-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team found itself in a five set dogfight and once again, it was the Tritons that came out on the losing end. UCSD came back from a 2-0 hole to force a deciding fifth game, but ultimately lost the 3-2 decision to host Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday night at the Otter Sports Complex.
Rheann Fall set a school record with 29 kills and racked up 21 digs to lead the Otters to a 29-27, 25-22, 18-25, 15-25, 15-12 victory. CSUMB improves to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play with the win.
UCSD, which also suffered a 3-2 setback at the hands of Cal State East Bay on Wednesday, falls to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the CCAA with the loss. The Tritons won games three and four in that contest, as well.
Friday's defeat marks the first time UCSD has lost consecutive matches during the regular season since September of the 2007. The Tritons lost to Cal State L.A. and Chico State on September 8 and 14, respectively.
"It was definitely tough to go through this for the second match in a row," head coach Ricci Luyties said. "We didn't play well early on and when we finally got things going, we just didn't have enough to finish off the comeback. It's not easy to beat a team three straight games when you lose the first two."
Falls' double-double paved the way for the Otters, who won despite being outhit .240 to .204 for the match. Monterey Bay was the much better team at the net, however, finishing with a commanding 14-4 blocking advantage. Lauren Shacklock registered 10 kills and Tori Taijeron had 14 digs for the Otters.
Junior outside hitter Roxanne Brunsting finished with a team-high 14 kills and tallied 16 digs for UCSD before going down with an injury in the third set. The Tritons were already playing without outside hitter Hillary Williamson, who missed her second straight match.
Julia Freidenberg finished with 12 kills on .458 hitting, while Kaitlin Potter added 10 kills and hit at a .421 clip. Setter Thalia McCann finished with 46 assists and libero Janessa Werhane finished with a match-high 27 digs.
The opening set was tight throughout until the Tritons scored three straight points to take a 24-21 lead. The Otters came back to take a 26-25 advantage on consecutive kills by Shacklock and Melanie Lashbrook, but UCSD scored two straight, taking a 27-26 lead on a Katie Condon kill and an error by Fall. The Tritons were unable to capitalize, however, and the Otters scored the next three points to take game one, 29-27.
UCSD held a 13-9 advantage early in set two, but CSUMB came back to tie it at 15 on a kill by Lauren Ding. The score remained tied at 19 when the Otters used a 5-1 run to move in front, 24-20. Freidenberg responded with a kill for the Tritons and McCann followed with a service ace to make it 24-22, but Shacklock would put the game away with kill following a Monterey Bay timeout.
As was the case against Cal State East Bay on Wednesday, UCSD got things turned around in the third set. The Tritons used a 9-2 run at one point to take an 18-10 lead and back-to-back service aces by Brittany Lombardi and a Lashbrook attack error made it 23-12 in favor of UCSD. Potter would send down the final two kills and the Tritons were on the board.
Set four was all UCSD, as the Tritons scored five consecutive points to lead by a 15-5 margin and effectively put the game out of reach. The lead would not dip below nine the rest of the way and Sally Yingst's kill at game point tied the match at two games apiece.
UCSD scored the first three points of the fifth set, but Fall picked up two straight service aces to give the home team a 6-5 edge. Back-to-back errors by Lizzy Andrews and Yingst made it 10-6 in favor of the Otters, but the Tritons would score the next three points to pull within 10-9. UCSD tied the score at 12 following a Freidenberg kill and a CSUMB ball handling error, but the Otters scored three in a row to close out the match and hand the Tritons their second straight defeat.
Luyties' squad will look to right the ship Saturday night at San Francisco State. First serve is set for 7:00 p.m.