CSUB wins WAC opener against UTRGV


By Johnathan Wheatley

Sports Editor


The Western Athletic Conference season opener was a thriller for CSU Bakersfield (7-6, 1-0 WAC) on Thursday, September 20.

In a rematch of last years WAC championship, in which CSUB defeated the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (9-6, 0-1 WAC), 3-1.

The Roadrunners were coming of a sweep of the Roadrunner Classic and UTRGV came from a 3-1 victory over Houston Baptist.

It was a slow start for CSUB as the Vaqueros took an early 0-3 lead in the first set. The roadrunners struggled to get much going in the first set.

CSUB hit a .103 attacking percentage to a .469 attacking of UTRGV. The Roadrunners managed to tie the set at 12-12 and take the lead at 13-12, but UTRGV answered and controlled the remainder of the set.

The Vaqueros ended the first set on a 13-3 run to take the set, 25-16 and carry the momentum into the second set.

Once again the Roadrunners fell 0-3 to begin the second set, but this time it would be different for CSUB.

The Roadrunners went to work and responded with a 11-2 run, to take a 11-5 lead over the Vaqueros in the set. The run would set the tone for the set as CSUB never relinquished the lead.

With the score 22-19, neither team would falter as both teams went pack and forth to have an 18 touch point.

CSUB went on to win the set 25-20 and tie the match at 1-1 going into halftime.

Junior outside hitter Rafa Bonifacio started the second, third and fourth after being subbed in for freshman Milica Vukobrat.

“I just wanted to play hard, help my team and win the game,” said Bonifacio on coming in to start the second set.

The third set was pivotal for both teams and they showed it. The set contained 10 tie scores and six lead changes. It also included a four-point comeback by CSUB to force the set into extras.

“Its all them being mentally tough, and being able to battle with a lot of heart,” said head coach Giovana Melo about he third set comeback.

The third set saw the Roadrunners take control and jump out to a 3-0 lead, but UTRGV battled back to tie it at 3-3.

The teams traded points until the Vaqueros jumped out to a four-point lead at 12-16. The four point lead would reach all the way to 20-24 in favor of UTRGV.

CSUB mounted its comeback and rattled off seven of the last eight points to take the set, 27-25.

The fourth and final set was a battle from the beginning. UTRGV took a 4-7 lead over CSUB, but the Roadrunners fought hard and scored four straight points to take a 8-7 lead.

With the scored tied at 13-13, CSUB scored three straight points and took a 16-13 lead. Those three points gave the Roadrunners the space they needed to take the victory.

CSUB finished the set outscoring the Vaqueros 12-5 and took the fourth set, 25-18 and defeated UTRGV, 3-1.

Sophomore libero Krista Hernandez led all players with 31 digs.

“I focused on it and then honestly I stopped thinking and sang a song in my head and just played,” said Hernandez on her positioning tonight.

CSUB will take on New Mexico State University (10-4, 0-1 WAC) on Saturday, Sep 22 at noon.