By Johnathan Wheatley
For the second time in four seasons, the CSU volleyball team has won the Western Athletic Conference Tournament and clinched an automatic berth in the Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship.
The Roadrunners defeated the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 3-1 in the championship match.
The second-seeded Vaqueros were the defending WAC champions.
“I’m seriously out of words,” said CSUB Director of Volleyball Giovana Melo to the WAC Digital Network. “The girls have fought so much throughout the whole year and it means everything. It means a lot to me because of them.”
CSUB swept Seattle University on Thursday and upsetted top-seeded New Mexico State University 3-1 on Friday in the semifinals.
Senior outside hitter Aleksandra Djordjevic was voted the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Fellow seniors middle blocker Sydney Haynes and setter Fabiana Andrade were also named to the all-tournament team.
“I don’t know if it’s a dream or real life,” said Djordjevic to the WAC Digital Network. “But we did it. Every athlete, the main goal is to win something like this. I am so proud.”
CSUB went into the WAC tournament as the fourth seed after finishing conference play with a 9-5 record.
CSUB split the regular season series between Seattle U and lost both matches against New Mexico State.
CSUB split the regular season series with UTRGV. In the Roadrunners’ previous match against the Vaqueros, the teams went five sets with the Roadrunners taking the victory.
The first set of the championship match began with both teams battling back and forth, with neither team able to separate.
A kill by Haynes gave CSUB the advantage they need and take the lead 8-6.
The Roadrunners would follow that by extending their lead to 11-6.
Haynes totaled 19 kills, a match high for both teams and a service ace.
UTRGV battled back and tied the set at 12, and once again both teams would struggle to separate themselves. The set went into overtime as UTRGV took the first set, 27-25.
The second set saw the Vaqueros take an 8-3 lead over the Roadrunners.
CSUB stormed back and tied the game at 10 with a kill by Djordjevic.
She finished with 14 kills and 12 digs, her third double-double of the tournament.
Both teams went back and forth until CSUB, led by Haynes, went on a 5-0 run and took a 20-15 lead. A service ace by Andrade won the set for the Roadrunners 25-18 and tied the match at one set apiece.
CSUB came out after halftime firing on all cylinders and took a commanding 17-8 lead over UTRGV.
The Vaqlead, their first ing one point leads. The Roadrunners prevailed 30-28 with two straight kills by Haynes and Djordjevic.
In the fourth set, both teams once again went back and forth with neither team being able to separate themselves by more than a point.
CSUB finally extended its lead by two, 13-11 forcing a UTRGV timeout.
The Roadrunners continued to stretch the lead and would force another Vaqueros timeout after a kill by junior outside hitter Briannah Mariner made the lead 17-12.
Mariner added six kills and four blocks to the Roadrunners total.
UTRGV tried to stage a comeback but would only get within four points of CSUB. A kill by Haynes and an attack error by UTRGV gave the Roadrunners the set win 25-18 and the win.
“It’s amazing. I couldn’t be more proud,” said Melo to the WAC Digital Network. “It’s a just a group that knew what it wanted from the beginning and fought through it the entire tournament.”
Freshman outside hitter Desiree Sukhov and sophomore setter Sidney Wicks both reached double-doubles in the championship match. Sukhov totaled 10 kills and 11 digs along with four service aces, while Wicks added 28 assists and 10 digs along with three service aces.
The Roadrunners (19-13, 9-5 WAC), will have to wait until Sunday, Nov. 26 to know their opponent in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The NCAA tournament selection show will be aired on ESPNU at 6 p.m.