SEASIDE, Calif. - The 12th-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team came back from two sets down to avoid an upset and defeat Cal State Monterey Bay, 3-2, Friday night at The Kelp Bed. Scores were 25-27, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23 and 15-10.
With its seventh consecutive victory, UCSD improved to 23-3 overall and 15-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). CSUMB had its four-match win streak snapped and fell to 17-10 on the year and 11-9 in league play.
"We really pulled off a great win against a good team tonight," said UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties. "I was very impressed with our ability to not give in and keep playing hard when things weren't going well. Everyone made big plays during crunch time."
The Tritons also defeated the Otters in five sets back on Oct. 12 in La Jolla.
Opposite Caitlin Brenton was a force for UCSD, finishing with 25 kills and hitting .364 (25-5-55). She also added four assists, seven digs and a pair of block assists.
Four other Tritons connected for double-digit kill totals, including Sara McCutchan (16), Sophie Rowe (16), Kameron Cooper (14) and Danielle Dahle (13) (La Mesa/Grossmont HS). Rowe and Dahle recorded double-doubles by tacking on 20 and 12 digs, respectively.
Triton setter Heidi Sierks established a new career-high with 70 assists. She also picked up another double-double by matching a career-best with 19 digs.
Libero Brittany Lombardi amassed a match-high 29 digs.
Cal State Monterey Bay was led offensively by Jessica Malcolm, who posted match-highs with 29 kills and 30.5 points.
UCSD held a .275 (86-26-218) to .220 (67-22-205) edge in hitting percentage, which included a huge .357 (11-1-28) to .125 (8-4-32) differential in set five.
Ahead 12-10 in the fifth set, UCSD closed it out with three straight points on consecutive kills from Cooper and Rowe and a solo block by Cooper.
The match featured 45 tie scores and 19 total lead changes.
"The momentum must have changed 20 times in that match," said Luyties.
It was the second-straight five-set match for UCSD as last Saturday's contest against Cal Poly Pomona, a Triton win, also went the distance. The last time the team played back-to-back five-setters was in October of 2011.
UCSD plays at Cal State East Bay (11-16, 7-12) Saturday at 7 p.m. The Pioneers were swept by league-leading Cal State San Bernardino Friday night in Hayward.