By Johnathan Wheatley
The CSU Bakersfield volleyball team stayed hot and won its fifth straight game to begin Western Athletic Conference play with a victory in straight sets over Grand Canyon University.
This is CSUB’s sixth straight-set victory this season.
For the first time since joining the WAC, the Roadrunners have started conference play 5-0.
“It feels great, said CSUB coach Giovana Melo. “It’s all credit to them with the work they put in”, when asked how it feels to have a 5-0 start.
“We have to stay focused and stay driven, said senior middle blocker Sydney Haynes “As our coaches would say, stay hungry.”
GCU would get the first point of the first set. CSUB would take the lead at 3-2 when junior outside hitter Briannah Mariner would get the kill. The Roadrunners would not relinquish the lead the rest of the set.
A block by Senior’s Haylee Roberts and Aleksandra Djordjevic would begin the start of a 5-0 run for CSUB. Roberts would end the night with 13 kills and 4 blocks while Djordjevic would add on 4 kills and 7 digs to her 3 blocks.
At 21-16, GCU called a timeout after CSUB would reach their largest lead of the set. After the timeout, GCU went on a 5-0 run to trim the lead to one, forcing the Roadrunners to call their own timeout.
That would be as close as the Antelopes would get as the Roadrunners would win the set 25-22 on a service error by GCU.
In the second set, CSUB got the first point with a Mariner kill. Mariner added seven kills and three blocks to the CSUB total. GCU would then go on a 7-3 run and take a 7-4 lead. The Roadrunners came storming back and went on a 9-0 run.
A block by senior Sydney Haynes would tie the game at 7-7. Haynes ended the night with eight kills, three service aces, and four blocks. After the block the Roadrunners would extend their lead by going up 19-9.
The Antelopes would have no answer for the Roadrunners in the second set as Mariner would seal.
GCU got the first point of the third set, CSUB followed with a 5-0 run, getting a 5-1 lead. The Antelopes fought back to regain the lead at 6-5.
The Roadrunners retook the lead and extended it to 14-9 before GCU called a timeout. The Antelopes tried to stage a comeback, but fell short and only got as close as 21-23 in favor of CSUB.
The Roadrunners went on to win the third set by a score of 25-21 and completed the straight-set sweep of the Antelopes.
CSUB dominated in the stat columns with 46 kills, 42 assists, nine service aces and 43 digs.
Senior setter Fabiana Andrade would add 22 assists and seven digs. Redshirt-sophomore Sydney Wicks would add 16 assists and nine digs and freshman outside hitter Bailey Smith added nine kills to the Roadrunners total.
“I think everyone knew this was the year. We are going do this and were going to do it well and our coaches instilled that into us from the beginning”, said Roberts.
CSUB (12-8, 5-0 WAC), will look to remain perfect in the WAC as it goes on the road to face UT Rio Grande Valley (10-7, 4-0 WAC) and New Mexico State University (11-6, 3-1 WAC).
The Roadrunners will return home Oct. 19 and play the University of Missouri-Kansas City at 7 p.m.