SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - It's said that the third time's a charm, but all three times the UC San Diego women's volleyball team has played CCAA opponent Sonoma State this season have turned out to be charms. The Tritons swept the Seawolves by scores of 25-23, 25-14 and 25-17 Thursday in NCAA West Regional first round action at Coussoulis Arena to advance to the semifinals.
UCSD will take on top-seeded and sixth-ranked Cal State San Bernardino in a semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Coyotes dispatched BYU-Hawaii in three sets in the first round.
With the win the Tritons upped their overall record to 19-8 while the Seawolves finished their 2010 campaign at 17-10. UCSD, which has won 12 of its last 13 matches, came in as the fourth seed while Sonoma State was the fifth seed.
Solid hitting from several Tritons, as well as an effective block and 60 digs, led UC San Diego to the win. Middle blockers Julia Freidenberg and Audrey Green finished with hitting percentages over .400. Green was at .444 (5-1-9) for the match while Freidenberg, who was named to the All-CCAA First Team Thursday, swung at a .417 (7-2-12) clip. Freidenberg also added six blocks, three aces and three digs.
Outside hitter Katie Condon, also named to the league's first team, posted a match co-high nine kills and a team co-high 15 digs. She also put up a strong .368 (9-2-19) attack percentage and was quick to give credit to Roxanne Brunsting's setting.
"Her setting was incredible tonight," said Condon. "She made it easy for me and kept me away from the block. She played smart."
Brunsting, who started setting for the first time in her career this season, totaled 20 helpers and Thalia McCann had 15. Brunsting has recorded six triple-doubles this year, but struggled a bit with her hitting Thursday. She had four kills and five errors on 27 swings for a -.037 attack, but did dig nine balls on the defensive end.
"Roxanne struggled at times, but she set well and had some really key kills for us," said UCSD's first-year head coach Ricci Luyties.
Brunsting was the third Triton to be named an All-CCAA First Team selection Thursday.
As a team, UCSD hit .220 (43-17-118) to Sonoma State's .056 (25-19-108). Both squads put up 12 blocks.
The Seawolves, who haven't won a postseason match in four appearances, were led by Brooke Moore with nine kills and five blocks. Taylor Krenwinkel, who's rung up over 1,500 digs during her career, had a match-best 20 on Thursday.
UCSD is now 23-5 all-time against Sonoma State and has won the last five match-ups. During the regular season, the Tritons took 3-0 and 3-2 victories.
"We were focused on not having any lapses," said Luyties. "We didn't have any kind of mental letups and I'm really happy for that."
This year's NCAA appearance marks the 10th overall and fifth straight for UCSD. Since moving to Division II for the 2000 season, the Tritons have missed the NCAAs just once (2005). In its previous nine NCAA showings, the Tritons advanced out of the regionals in 2001 and 2006. UC San Diego was a national semifinalist in 2001 and a national quarterfinalist in 2006.
In earlier first round matches Thursday, No. 3 Western Washington defeated No. 6 Alaska-Anchorage 3-1 and second-seeded Seattle Pacific downed seventh-seeded Cal State L.A. 3-2. Western Washington and Seattle Pacific will meet in Friday's early semi at 5 p.m. PT.
All matches at this year's West Regional feature live video streaming as well as Live Stats. For more information and links, please click here.