Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Middle blocker Sara McCutchan finished with a match-high 14 kills.
Tritons Lose 3-1 at Cal State East Bay
Release: Friday 11/16/2012 

HAYWARD, Calif. - In the first of its final two regular season matches, the UC San Diego women's volleyball team suffered a 3-1 loss against league opponent Cal State East Bay Friday night at Pioneer Gym.

Scores of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) match were 25-17, 25-18, 14-25 and 25-21 in favor of the home team. UCSD, which lost its third consecutive match for the first time this season, dropped to 19-10 overall and 14-7 in league play. CSUEB improved to 12-16 and 7-14.

"East Bay came out with more energy than us," said UCSD head coach Ricci Luyties. "We knew how important this match was, but we didn't match their intensity."

The Tritons held slight advantages in several statistical categories, including kills (51-50), attack percentage (.144-.142) and digs (86-85), but were lacking in the serve and reception departments. UCSD managed just a .943 reception percentage compared to East Bay's .987. In addition, the Tritons had one service ace and made seven errors from the line, while the Pioneers dropped in five aces and had just one miscue.

Middle blocker Sara McCutchan had a match co-high 14 kills and outside Danielle Dahle chipped in with 12 for UCSD. Defensively, five Tritons had 10 or more digs, including Sophie Rowe (26), Brittany Lombardi (19), Lizzy Andrews (13), Amber Hawthorne (11) and Dahle (10). Rowe and Edrina Nazaradeh each had four blocks. 

Cal State East Bay was led by Suzy Ni Xu and Hannah Bell, who posted 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Veronica Sanchez registered 28 digs to lead all players.

Both teams hit under .100 in two of four sets. UCSD swung at .070 in the second frame and .040 in the fourth, while the Pioneers were at .025 in the third and .062 in the fourth. The Tritons had their best offensive output in the third stanza, posting a match-high .385 attack percentage.

The Pioneers out-blocked the Tritons 11-8.

UCSD jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening set and led up until 8-6, when CSUEB rattled off six straight points to take a 12-8 lead. The Pioneers would not trail again the rest of the way in the set.

A five-point run in the second set pushed East Bay out to an 11-4 lead. Down 16-11, three straight attack errors by the Pioneers allowed UCSD to get back within two points. However, East Bay called a timeout and returned to score the next four points to take a 20-14 lead.

Down 7-5 in the third, the Tritons exploded for seven consecutive points to essentially put the set out of reach for the Pioneers. Hawthorne had back-to-back kills and Nazaradeh had a kill and a block during the sequence. UCSD scored the final five points of the set to close it out.

With the Tritons leading 2-1 early in the fourth, the Pioneers scored nine of the next 10 points to go up 10-3. Three times UC San Diego got back within two points, the final one coming at 22-20 after a block by McCutchan and Rowe. However, East Bay won three of the next four points to cap off the night. 

"We started playing more consistently in the third set, but began the fourth with some errors and we never recovered," said Luyties.

It was the first win for the Pioneers over the Tritons since 2010. UCSD defeated CSUEB 3-1 in La Jolla back on Oct. 13.

UCSD concludes its regular season Saturday night at Cal State Monterey Bay, which was swept Friday by league champion Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons likely face a must-win situation in order to obtain a spot in the NCAA West Regional.

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