CSUB comeback falls short in first round of WAC tournament

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CSUB comeback falls short in first round of WAC tournament


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By Johnathan Wheatley

Sports Editor

 

Its Thanksgiving Day and opening day for the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament. The first game of the day at the Icardo Center was between the No. 4 seed Utah Valley University against the No. 5 seed CSU Bakersfield.

Since CSUB is hosting the tournament it decided to play in the early game at 4:30 p.m. It was a game that started out great for the Roadrunners, but quickly turned into a game that saw CSUB coming from behind. In the end, CSUB came up short in the fifth set and will not repeat as WAC champions.

“We kind of involved our emotions of wanting to win so bad into our play,” said sophomore Desiree Sukhov. “If we can stop going on the downward part of the roller coaster things can really come together.”

In the first set, CSUB began with a 3-0 start and had a lead as big as five points. UVU slowly crept its way back into the game and tied it at 12-12.

After a service error by sophomore Krista Hernandez tied the game ate 13-13, CSUB went on a 5-0 run to take a 18-13 lead. The Roadrunners held that lead and took the first set, 25-20.

Set two was all Utah Valley. The Wolverines took a commanding 4-0 lead to begin the set and never looked back after. After having a 10-point lead at 20-10, CSUB tried to make a comeback. UVU stopped the Roadrunners in their tracks and took the set, 25-16.

Coming out of halftime, the Wolverines once again took over the set. Utah Valley never relinquished the lead in the third set.

The Roadrunners tried their best to stay on pace with Utah Valley, but when CSUB got to with two points at 16-18, UVU ended the game on a 7-1 run and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth set it began to look like CSUB was going to have a hard time coming back again, but at 9-14 sophomore Desiree Sukhov and freshman Rafa Bonifacio took over the game.

After a kill to make it 10-14 in favor of Utah Valley, Sukhov went to the service line for 10 straight points. In those 10 points Sukhov recorded four service aces and Bonifacio had five kills to help CSUB go on a 11-0 run and take a 20-14 lead.

The Roadrunners held on and finished the set on a 16-2 run and took the fourth set 25-16.

“They showed that [mental toughness], and I was hoping to see that in the fifth set,” said head coach Giovanna Melo on the fourth set comeback.

The fifth set began with both teams battling back and forth trying to get an advantage over the other. Utah Valley was the team able to take advantage over the CSUB mistakes.

CSUB was unable to recover after going down 5-8 before switching sides and fell in the fifth set, 9-15 and lose the match 2-3 to Utah Valley.

“We stepped on the court giving everything we had, its definitely a learning experience for next season,” said redshirt junior Sydney Wicks.

CSUB will have start to begin it transition onto the sand as it will be competing in the Big West conference and look to return to the Big West beach volleyball tournament.