CSUB completes comeback vs Utah Valley, remains perfect in WAC play


Junior outside hitter Briannah Mariner and redshirt-senior middle blocker Sydney Haynes go up to block a kill attempt against Fresno State on Sept. 12 in the Icardo Center. Photo by Scot Swan/The Runner

Johnathan Wheatley


After losing their previous three matches to Utah Valley University last year, (2 in regular season, 1 in WAC tournament) CSU Bakersfield prevail in a five set thriller.

Freshman outside hitter Bailey Smith played hero for CSUB (10-8, 4-0 WAC), scoring their final three points in the fifth set, giving the Roadrunners the win. “She’s been working hard in practice. She’s been waiting for her opportunity and she got one today”, said Coach Giovana Melo on Freshman Bailey Smith.

A kill by senior outside hitter Aleksandra Djordjevic would open the game, giving the Roadrunners an early 1-0 lead. CSUB would expand their lead later on to 8-3. That would be the biggest lead of the set.

Utah Valley throughout the set would inch closer and eventually tie the set at 20-20. UVU would take a lead at 24-23, but would be short lived after a service error tied the game back up at 24-24.

Redshirt-senior middle blocker Haylee Roberts would get a tip to tie the game up at 26-26. CSUB would score the next two points winning the set 28-26. Roberts would end the game with 14 kills.

The second set would be an even tighter set than the first, with no team having a lead larger than 4.

CSUB would hold a 10-6 lead, then Utah Valley would go on a 8-1 run to take the lead at 14-11.

The Wolverines would not relinquish the lead as the Roadrunners would try to come back later in the match being down 20-16.

Utah Valley would earn the second set when CSUB’s Djordjevic would serve it out of bounds.

Third set would be almost identical as the second with no team pulling away from the other. The set contained 11 tie scores and only 7 lead changes.

Utah Valley would take control of the game when they take the lead at 19-18. The Wolverines would pull out to a 4 point lead, until CSUB redshirt-senior middle blocker Sydney Haynes would get a kill halting the UVU run.

Utah Valley went on to win the set, 25-23.

Set number 4 was all Roadrunners. This is when CSUB coach Giovana Melo would put Smith into the game.

After CSUB and UVU would trade the lead six times, the Roadrunners would start their 14-4 run to win the set.

The Roadrunners would get to 18-12 before the Wolverines would get their next point and try to stage a comeback. CSUB’s Roberts would put an ending to any type of comeback as she would get a kill putting the Roadrunners up 20-14.

The Roadrunners would take the set and look towards the fifth set where they have not had much luck in the past against Utah Valley.

CSUB would win the coin flip and would chose to serve first. UVU would then take a 7-3 lead to begin the set.

The Roadrunners would slowly fight back and tie the set at 10-10. The Wolverines would then go on a 3-0 run and go up 13-10 until junior outside hitter Briannah Mariner would get a kill ending the run.

After a serve by senior libero Emily Lopes, which tied the set 14-14, CSUB’s Smith would take over the game by scoring their next three points. Lopes added 35 digs on the day with the service ace. She entered today’s game top 10 in all of Division I volleyball in digs and digs per set.

A Smith block would make it 15-15, then a kill by Smith would make it 16-15 for CSUB. She would then get a tip that would go of a Utah Valley defender to win the match 3-2 for CSUB. Smith would finish the game with 8 kills.

“I feel ecstatic, said Smith. “I’m so proud of myself and my team.”

The Roadrunners once again dominated the stat sheet out performing their opponent in kills (76), assists (68), and digs (92).

Djordjevic and senior setter Fabiana Andrade would both earn a double-double. Djordjevic had 13 kills and 14 digs while Andrade had 32 assists and 12 digs, both helping CSUB remain undefeated in conference play.

When asked what makes this group so special, Roberts said. “It’s the group of girls and the coaching staff. They create a culture where we love each other but we want to win and it’s showing.”

The Roadrunners will go on the road for a non-conference game against CSU Fullerton. CSUB will return home Oct. 6 for a game against Grand Canyon University in another conference battle.