Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Sara McCutchan posted career-highs with 21 kills and 10 blocks.
UCSD Edged in Five Sets by First Place San Bernardino
Release: Wednesday 10/10/2012 

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Sara McCutchan had a career night with 21 kills and 10 blocks, but the UC San Diego women's volleyball team was edged in five sets by rival Cal State San Bernardino Wednesday at Coussoulis Arena.

Scores were 18-25, 25-21, 25-21, 21-25 and 15-10 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) match. With its second straight loss, UCSD dropped to 11-6 on the season and 6-3 in the CCAA, tied with Chico State for third place. CSUSB, which has won its last eight league matches, improved to 11-6 overall and sits atop the conference standings at 8-1.

The Tritons led in a majority of statistical categories, including kills (67-61), setting percentage (.333-.304), serve percentage (.951-.903), digs (80-74), blocks (13-11) and points (83.0-80.0). However, the Coyotes made up those deficits by holding advantages in attack percentage (.217-.199), aces (8-3) and reception percentage (.969-.914).

In the deciding frame, UC San Diego managed just an .045 hitting clip with seven kills and six errors in 22 attacks. Conversely, San Bernardino swung at .292 with nine kills and just two miscues in 24 attempts. The Coyotes sided out 81 percent of the time in the set.

"We squandered a lot of opportunities to score on defense," said UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties. "We had a lot of chances, but not enough swings for points."

McCutchan's kill and block totals were career- and match-highs. The sophomore middle blocker posted a team-best .474 (21-3-38) attack and led all players with 27.5 points, also a career-best.

Two other Tritons recorded double-figure kill totals as Danielle Dahle had 19 and Sophie Rowe finished with 16. Dahle added 12 digs while setter Amber Hawthorne had 52 assists and 13 digs, the seventh double-doubles of the season for each. Libero Brittany Lombardi had a career- and match-high 28 digs. 

Three Coyotes finished north of 10 kills, including Danielle Newcombe (17), Ashley Solis (13) and Mercedes Winchester (12). Winchester hit .500 with only a single error in 22 attacks, while Newcombe completed a double-double with 16 digs. All eight of CSUSB's aces came from different players.

San Bernardino never trailed in the fifth set. After UCSD tied it at 2-2 with a kill by McCutchan, the Coyotes spun off six straight points to take an 8-2 lead. The Tritons would get no closer than four points the rest of the way. 

The match had 41 tie scores, including 12 in both the third and fourth sets. It was CSUSB's first five-set match against a CCAA opponent at Coussoulis Arena in five seasons. 

In the midst of a busy week, UCSD hosts a pair of league matches next as Cal State Monterey Bay visits RIMAC Arena on Friday, Oct. 12 and Cal State East Bay is in town on Saturday, Oct. 13. Both contests start at 7 p.m. The matches wrap up the first half of the CCAA season.

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