CSUB rallies to beat UVU, moves into 2nd in WAC


CSUB’s freshman defensive specialist Morginne Demarco attempts to save a point against Seattle University on Thursday in the Icardo Center. CSUB beat Seattle, 3-1. Photo by Marisel Maldonado/The Runner

Esteban Ramirez



The CSU Bakersfield volleyball team displayed its determination on Saturday against Utah Valley University as the Roadrunners rallied back from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Wolverines 3-2 (27-25, 14-25, 20-25, 25-17, 19-17) in the Icardo Center.

This win not only was their fifth straight but also put the Roadrunners (10-12, 8-2 Western Athletic Conference) in sole possession of second place in the WAC.

“I think they are getting a little bit better,” CSUB Director of Volleyball Giovana Melo said. “It was just all about them fighting and playing with a little bit more of heart than anything else. It’s awesome to see them do that.”

After the Roadrunners won a tough first set 27-25, Melo said that in the second set, they lost their energy and started to focus too much on the errors they were making.

That continued to be a problem in the third set.

Senior outside hitter Kelsee Sawyer said that Melo told them between the third and fourth sets to play like themselves.

“We were seeing glimpses of preseason and just stuff that we knew we couldn’t do to win,” Sawyer said. “She just wanted us to play like ourselves and we came out and we did.”

CSUB came out in the fourth set and took it 25-17 thanks to a .455 hitting percentage, while UVU (13-11, 8-3 WAC) just had a hitting percentage of .214.

In the fifth set, the Roadrunners built a 5-1 lead early on, but the Wolverines battled back and tied it up at 12.

Both teams had their chances to secure the victory, but CSUB went up 18-17 thanks to a kill from junior outside hitter Carol Grasso. Then, a huge block by senior setter Luiza Martins and middle blocker Sydney Haynes on UVU’s sophomore outside hitter Lexi Thompson gave the Roadrunners the win.

Along with the match-winning block, Martins finished with a season-high 66 assists and 10 digs. Those 66 assists were only one behind her career-high and only three behind the CSUB Division I record set by Gabe Curtis (vs. UVU in 2007). It was also only the fourth time a CSUB player has had 60-plus assists in a match.

“I don’t focus a lot on my stats,” Martins said. “I don’t even look after the games. I want to just win and that’s what matters most to me, but it’s good. I’m happy.

“I think we did an awesome job coming back from a 2-1 game,” Martins said. “We played with a lot of energy. I think we realized we needed to make a change or we were going to lose.”

Grasso said that it felt nice to win the match the way they did against the Wolverines.

“It was really important because now we’re second,” Grasso said. “Ending this weekend with two wins, just gives us stronger confidence against New Mexico State.”

Melo added to how important this win was.

“We have been talking about it,” she said. “We need to fight with them to go step up next week against the number one team [New Mexico State] to see what we can do and to see where we will be once we go into the [WAC] Tournament. But I think this was a very big win, especially for our confidence to know that we can beat them.”

Junior outside hitter Carol Grasso had a match-high 23 kills, a match-high 21 digs and three aces. Senior outside hitter Kelsee Sawyer added 21 kills and senior outside hitter had 13 kills and seven digs.

The Roadrunners will head to Las Cruces, N.M. to face the first place New Mexico State Aggies (21-5, 10-0 WAC) on Thursday at 7 p.m.