LA JOLLA, Calif. - In a clash between the league's top two squads, the 12th-ranked UC San Diego women's volleyball team dropped a heartbreaking five-set decision to No. 14 Cal State San Bernardino Wednesday night at RIMAC Arena. The Coyotes stormed back from two sets down to win the match and clinch their eighth consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title.
Scores of the match were 13-25, 17-25, 25-21, 25-21 and 18-16 in favor of CSUSB.
The loss snapped an eight-match win streak for UC San Diego, which fell to 24-4 overall and 16-4 in the CCAA. Cal State San Bernardino won its seventh straight to improve to 23-5 on the year and 19-1 in the league.
With two CCAA matches left in the regular season, UCSD is tied with Sonoma State for second place.
UCSD opposite Caitlin Brenton recorded a match-high 21.0 points on 17 kills, two aces and four block assists while also adding a career-best 20 digs. Outside hitter Danielle Dahle (La Mesa/Grossmont HS) finished with 16 kills, while outside Sophie Rowe had a double-double with 11 kills and 18 digs.
Triton libero Brittany Lombardi amassed a match-high 26 digs, giving her 560 for the year - a new single season record for the program.
The Coyotes also had three players with 10 or more kills, including Alexandra Torline (match-high 18), Tori May (15) and Ashley Solis (12). Brenna McIntosh recorded seven blocks and Arielle McCullough led the team defensively with 24 digs.
Neither team hit particularly well on the night with UCSD at .177 (61-27-192) and CSUSB at .155 (63-33-194). The Coyotes held a very slight 89-88 edge in digs, while both teams had 11 blocks in the match. Cal State San Bernardino made eight service errors and UC San Diego had just three.
UCSD fought off three match points in the fifth set. Down 14-12, a Brenton/McCutchan block and an attack error by CSUSB tied it at 14-14. A kill by May put the Coyotes back up, 15-14, but consecutive kills from Brenton and Rowe gave the Tritons match point at 16-15. The score moved to 16-16 on a UCSD attack error and then the Coyotes took over at the net. McIntosh and Stephanie Sinohui combined on a stuff and McIntosh finished it with a solo block.
Cal State San Bernardino swept the season series as the Coyotes won, 3-1, at Coussoulis Arena on Sept. 25.
UCSD plays at Cal State L.A. (15-13, 10-10 CCAA) Friday before finishing the regular season by hosting Cal State Dominguez Hills (11-17, 4-16) Saturday on Senior Night. Both matches start at 7 p.m.