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September 21, 2010 > East Bay volleyball stumbles

East Bay volleyball stumbles

By Giovanni Albanese Jr.

After getting off to an 8-0 start to its season with a 3-2 road win over No. 11-nationally ranked UC San Diego, the No. 24-nationally ranked Cal State University-East Bay's Lady Pioneers volleyball team stumbled over the weekend against two unranked teams.

Cal State came up from La Jolla and fell in consecutive days to San Francisco State (Friday, Sept. 17) and Cal State Monterey Bay (Saturday, Sept. 18), both on the road, and both by scores of 3-1.

Against San Francisco State, East Bay got off to a one-set-to-none lead with a 25-20 win. But San Francisco was able to rebound by claiming the next three sets - 17, 20, 23 - to get its first CCAA win, and move to 4-4 on the season while dropping the Lady Pioneers to 8-1 (3-1 in CCAA). In the losing effort, K.C. Walsh led the team with 20 assists; Lauren Massa led the Pioneers with 18 digs.

Then on Saturday, East Bay went to Monterey and was handed its second straight CCAA match to Cal State Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay got off to a two-set lead with consecutive 25-21 wins. And after East Bay pulled within a set with a 25-20 win, CSMB put the match away with a 25-22 win in the fourth set. With the win, CSMB went to 6-1 on the season, 3-1 in CCAA, while CSEB fell to 8-2, 3-2 in CCAA. Amanda Limeberger had 29 assists in the losing cause; Sukhjit Athwal and Kitona Offord both had 13 kills for East Bay.

East Bay finishes up its current five-game road swing with matches at Cal State Stanislaus and Chico State on Friday, Sept. 24, and Saturday, Sept. 25, respectively.

On the pitch, East Bay's soccer program, both men and women, had a successful weekend, combining for three wins and a defeat.

Amy Gerace's Lady Pioneers picked up their first CCAA victory with a 1-0 shutout over Sonoma State on the road on Friday, Sept. 17. Michelle Garcia scored in the 80th minute to break the deadlock and give CSEB its first conference goal, and win, improving to 3-2-1 overall.

"I'm very excited about our win today," Gerace said. "Wins in the CCAA don't come easy and I'm especially proud of the team effort. A lot of players really stepped up and did an excellent job for us."

Meanwhile, after watching the Lady Pioneers go over .500 with its win, East Bay's men's soccer club didn't have the same fortunes, losing 2-0 at Sonoma State on Friday.

Sonoma raced out to the 2-0 lead within 11 minutes from the opening kickoff. Taylor Varnadore scored in the third minute, while Trevor Hurst netted the Seawolves second goal in the 11th for the insurmountable lead.

Andy Cumbo's club fell to 1-5 on the season, 0-3 in CCAA, and has not put the ball in the back of the net since its opening match.

"We're making progress," Cumbo said. "We did a better job today limiting our mistakes, although we still made a few. We need to continue to limit the amount of mistakes we're making."

All those struggles that the men endured over a five-game stretch disappeared on Sunday, Sept. 19, when they went to Arcata and topped Humboldt State, 3-1. Goals by Alexis Romo, Michael Dowson and Daniel Burst led the Pioneers to its first CCAA win under the guidance of Cumbo.

"The team played great today," Cumbo said. "They were focused on winning for 90 minutes. We started nine freshmen and two sophomores and they played like seniors."

Romo, a freshman, scored in the 19th minute and stopped a 512-minute scoring drought for the Pioneers. After Humboldt tied the match before the half, it was sophomore Dowson (in the 59th) and freshman Borst (in the 67th) who put the game away. For good measure, freshman keeper Bryce Bookhamer saved 12 shots to improve CSEB to 2-5, 1-3 in CCAA.

Meanwhile, the women kept on the winning track, also topping Humboldt State in Arcata on Sunday, 2-1. Gail Bassett and Eugenie Foote each scored in the first half to propel the Lady Pioneers to 4-2-1 on the season, 2-2 in CCAA.

Bassett scored in the 27th minute to get the scoring underway; eight minutes later, Foote scored the eventual game winner, burying a shot in the upper 90 and beating Jennifer Paugh in the 35th minute.

Humboldt was able to get on the board in the 61st minute, but it was all Donna Williams would allow, as the freshman keeper guided her club to victory.

"Our team executed the game plan very well in the first half," Gerace said. "The second half was very emotional and extremely intense. I'm happy to get the second win this weekend and get back on the road."

East Bay's soccer teams finish up a four-game road trip this weekend with games at San Francisco State on Friday, Sept. 24, and at Cal State Monterey Bay on Sunday, Sept. 26.

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