By Johnathan Wheatley
PALO ALTO, Calif. – It’s a different year, but the same result for the CSU Bakersfield volleyball team. In the first round of the NCAA tournament the Roadrunners fell in straight sets once again to Stanford. CSUB finished their season with a record of 19-13.
The Roadrunners went into the NCAA Tournament as the Western Athletic Conference champions after defeating the defending conference champions UTRGV.
CSUB came out in the first set on fire. With help from redshirt-senior middle blocker Sydney Haynes and senior outside hitter Aleksandra Djordjevic, the Roadrunners opened the set with a 6-4 lead over the Cardinal.
“We were prepared, we knew what we were going up against.” said Haynes “we just had the heart and we were ready to go”.
Haynes had six kills a service ace and a block for the Roadrunners and Djordjevic added seven kills, nine digs and two service aces.
“I had a great team behind my back, and four great seniors that had my back” said Djordjevic on her time at CSUB “I got the team behind me, I got this team forever.”
The Roadrunners had a tough time scoring points once Stanford tied the game at 6 a piece. The Cardinal went on a 18-4 run to take a 24-10 lead.
Djordjevic would get a kill to end the run but CSUB could not rally and fell 25-11 in the first set.
In the second set, Stanford took the early lead and never looked back as they scored the set’s first four points.
Stanford was relentless with not letting CSUB scoring more than one point at a time during the beginning part of the set. When the Roadrunners managed to score a point, the Cardinals would answer back by scoring 2 or 3 or more every time.
Stanford got out to a 13-3 in the second set, but the resilience of CSUB showed as they would try to fight back into the set. The Roadrunners managed to only get within eight points in the set, as CSUB fell in the second set 25-15 and go into halftime down 2 sets to none.
The third set saw CSUB take an early 3-1 lead over Stanford. The Cardinal would wake up and go on a 17-2 run and take a commanding 18-5 lead.
CSUB fought their way to stay competitive in the third set but fell short of a comeback, falling 25-17 and dropping straight sets.
“I’m proud of the way they came back, even the end of the third set they continued to battle” said coach Giovana Melo on their match against Stanford.
Coach Melo and the Roadrunners will look to repeat as WAC champions, when they host the WAC tournament at the Icardo Center next year and return to the NCAA Tournament next year.