POMONA, Calif. - A season-high 15 blocks weren't enough as the University of California San Diego women's volleyball team battled, but fell in five sets at Cal Poly Pomona Friday night. Set scores were 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-22, and 15-5 at Kellogg Arena.
UC San Diego dropped to 5-5 overall and 1-3 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). CPP won its 11th consecutive match to improve to 12-1 and remain undefeated in league play at 5-0.
"It was looking like we were going to win, but the momentum shifted to Cal Poly Pomona," said UC San Diego head coach Ricci Luyties. "They got on a roll towards the end of the fourth set and carried it into the fifth. I give them credit for picking up their defense and extending plays when we had them on the ropes."
The Tritons were relentless at the net, finishing with 15 team blocks, their most since registering 16 at Cal State San Marcos in November of 2016. It was the fifth time this season that they recorded at least 10 blocks.
Leading the way in stuffs was Jessica Rieble, who totaled nine, one short of her career-high. Picking up four blocks apiece were Emily Kimball (Encinitas/San Dieguito Academy), Sydney Tekstra, and Cindy Tran.
Gina Cortesi had a team-high 18 points for UC San Diego and collected her fifth double-double of the year with 15 kills and 20 digs. Tran also had a double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs. Freshman libero Susanna Limb led all players with 26 digs.
As a team, the Tritons hit just .119 (52-30-185), their second-lowest of the season.
The Broncos were also strong up front, totaling 13 blocks. They compiled a .182 (69-29-220) attack percentage and gave up 10 points on errors from the service line. Kristen Hamlin paced the offense with 25 points, 21 kills, and seven blocks.
Two early runs in the opening set had the Tritons leading 11-6. The Broncos rallied to tie it three times, the final deadlock coming at 20-20. UC San Diego took four of the next five points and managed to stay in front and have Tran put her team up 1-0 with a kill.
It looked as if Cal Poly Pomona was going to run away with the second set after rolling to a 22-11 advantage. However, UC San Diego scored five straight points to get back within six at 22-16. At 24-17, the Tritons turned aside five set points with another gutsy run highlighted by four straight blocks. Rieble was in on three of them, while Tekstra had two blocks and a kill and Kimball had a pair of blocks during the run. Jenna Goldsberry then found a way around the block with a kill, evening up the match at 1-1.
The Tritons led for most of the first half of the third frame until the Broncos tied it at 17-17. After trading points, a kill by Tran gave UC San Diego a 19-18 lead and the Tritons stayed ahead and won to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
UC San Diego looked as if it may hand CPP its first conference loss after taking a 20-16 lead in the fourth set. The Broncos were resilient and scored six consecutive points to move in front by a 22-20 score. Back-to-back kills by Cortesi and Tran tied it at 22-22, but Hamlin and Goldsberry combined on a block and each then put down kills to give the victory to the Broncos and force a fifth set.
Cal Poly Pomona dominated the deciding set, hitting .524 with 11 kills and no errors in 21 attacks. Trailing 2-1, the Broncos won 12 of the next 13 points to take a commanding 13-3 lead and seal the victory. The Tritons hit .000 in the set with four kills and four errors in 21 swings.
UC San Diego faces another tough test Saturday evening as it plays at Cal State San Bernardino, the fifth-ranked team in the country. The Coyotes defeated Cal State San Marcos, 3-1, Friday to move to 12-1 on the season and 5-0 in the CCAA.
About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles, and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in the summer of 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's pre-eminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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