ROHNERT PARK, Calif. - The 25th-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team rolled to a pair of straight set wins Saturday on the final day of action at the Seawolf Spike tournament, hosted by Sonoma State. The Tritons took care of Seattle Pacific in the early match and went on to blank Dominican in the afternoon, finishing the tourney with a 3-1 record.
UCSD 3, Seattle Pacific 0
Scores against Seattle Pacific were 25-18, 25-13 and 25-20. The Tritons improved to 4-3 overall and the Falcons, who received votes in the most recent national poll, dropped to 2-6.
UCSD was dominant from the service line, acing SPU eight times while committing just three errors. In contrast, the Falcons amassed 10 miscues while logging just one ace. Freshman outside hitter Danielle Dahle, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, had three aces and sophomore setter Amber Hawthorne added a pair.
"We did a real nice job serving and receiving serve," said UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties. "That can really help our consistency with such a young team."
Sophomore opposite Rachelle Kinney led the Tritons in kills with nine while adding three blocks, two assists and two digs. She hit .300 with just three errors in 20 attacks.
"Rachelle (Kinney) was a real offensive threat from the right side," said Luyties. "We need that balance to be an effective team."
Dahle led all players with 12.5 total points. She finished with seven kills, seven digs and four blocks to go along with the trifecta of aces. Middle blocker Sara McCutchan had a match-high five blocks. The sophomore has averaged six blocks per match at the tournament.
Defensively, junior libero Lizzy Andrews posted a season-high 13 digs. She was followed by freshman Katy Woodward with eight.
UCSD held a 9-6 advantage in blocks. Neither squad hit particularly well as the Tritons swung at .192 (34-15-99) and the Falcons managed just a .121 (30-18-99) clip.
At 10-10 in the opening set, Kinney had a kill and a block to put UCSD up for good.
The Tritons scored seven of the first nine points in the second frame to open up a 7-2 lead and the Falcons never recovered from the deficit.
The third set proved to be the most competitive. Down 2-1 early, UCSD won five of the next six points to take a 6-3 lead. However, Seattle Pacific battled back, taking a 13-12 advantage after three straight points on two Triton errors and a kill by Madi Cavel. The lead was short-lived as UCSD responded by scoring four consecutive points. Two Falcon errors and a pair of aces by Dahle gave the Tritons a 16-13 lead, one they would not relinquish again.
UCSD 3, Dominican (CA) 0
In its second sweep of the day, UCSD again dominated with a 25-19, 25-18 and 27-25 victory over Dominican. The Tritons will head into league play next week with a 5-3 season record. The Penguins fell to 1-6 with the loss.
After hitting .192 (34-15-99) in the morning match against Seattle Pacific, the Tritons shined with a season-high .350 (51-16-100) clip against Dominican.
On the other side of the net, Dominican was held to just a .125 (29-17-96) attack percentage. The Penguins did total eight service aces, but were out-dug 43 to 29 by the Tritons.
"We attacked their defense by challenging their block to stop us," said Luyties. "When we are in system, our offense can be difficult to defend."
Redshirt freshman Rachel Gam established a new career-high by leading all players with 16 kills. The outside hitter swung at .393 (16-5-28) and also chipped in with an assist, two digs and a block. Gam has recorded a double-digit kill total in three of her eight matches played thus far.
Also pacing the UCSD offense was Dahle with 14 kills and a .500 (14-1-26) attack and McCutchan with eight kills on .462 (8-2-13) hitting. Dahle also had nine digs, the second time she finished just one shy of a double-double in Rohnert Park.
Hawthorne and freshman Heidi Sierks shared setting duties with Hawthorne collecting 30 assists and Sierks 10. Sierks, whose two brothers played at UCSD, also added six digs.
Woodward had a match-best 10 digs.
For Dominican, Jessica Jones totaled 14 kills and Katy Batchelder had eight digs. Jade Santos put down three service aces while Sarah Bain and Kelsey Lardner each had two.
"Overall, I'm happy with the way we played this weekend," said Luyties. "I feel like we have improved since last week's tournament."
UCSD went 3-1 overall at the Seawolf Spike, recording victories over No. 18 Western Washington (3-2), Seattle Pacific (3-0) and Dominican (3-0) and suffering a loss against Central Washington (3-1).
Chico State, Sonoma State and Western Washington joined UCSD with 3-1 records. Central Washington finished 2-2, Cal State Stanislaus and Seattle Pacific went 1-3 and Dominican was winless at 0-4.
Dahle finished second among all tourney players in service aces (8) and fourth in kills (57). McCutchan led in total blocks (19) and was sixth in attack percentage (.319), while Hawthorne was fourth in assists (144).
The Tritons open California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) play next week, hosting Cal State Dominguez Hills on Friday, Sept. 14 and Cal State. L.A. on Saturday, Sept. 15. Both matches are set for a 7 p.m. start.
2012 Seawolf Spike All-Tournament Team
Most Valuable Player: Marlayna Geary, Western Washington (OH, Sr., Tacoma, WA)
Laurie Yearout, Western Washington (S, Sr., Spokane, WA)
Samantha Hutchinson, Western Washington (L, So., University Place, WA)
Nicole Gragnola, Sonoma State (L, Jr., Saratoga, CA)
Kelsey Hull, Sonoma State (RS, So., Valley Springs, CA)
Alex Shurtz, Chico State (OH, Jr., Moraga, CA)
Danielle Dahle, UC San Diego (OH, Fr., La Mesa, CA)
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