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September 20, 2011 > Pioneers topple Humboldt State, fall to Sonoma State

Pioneers topple Humboldt State, fall to Sonoma State

Submitted By Kelly Hayes

Though Humboldt State forced a fourth set, the Cal State East Bay volleyball team held on to post the 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 25-23) victory over the Jacks on Friday night at Pioneer Gym. The Pioneers (6-1, 2-1 CCAA) took advantage of a .240 hitting percentage and double-digit kills from Nicole Boyle, Katie Allen and Kitona Offord to open the weekend with the win.

"We played just well enough to get by tonight," Head Coach Jim Spagle said.

The trio of Boyle, Allen and Offord combined for 40 of East Bay's 62 kills, led by Allen's 15 putaways. Allen notched a double-double on the night, adding 13 digs. Boyle posted a 13-kill, 18-dig double-double as well, while Offord led the team, hitting at a .381 clip and added 12 kills. Freshman Samantha Brunohad a breakout match, posting her second-highest hitting percentage of the season at .333 and tying her season-high with eight kills.

Kristin Neary and Danielle Stewart shared the setting duties again, leading the offense to a .240 hitting percentage, including 19 kills and a .306 clip in the third set. Neary dished out 32 assists on the night, while Stewart added 22, as well as 13 digs. Senior Leslie Ray posted a season-high 32 digs, while three players -Nikki Long, Bruno and Offord - led the Pioneers to seven team blocks with three total blocks apiece. Defensively, Boyle, Allen and Ray combined to commit just two errors on serve receive in 77 receptions.

"Leslie Ray, Nicole Boyle and Katie Allen were very solid in serve receive and Kitona Offord and Samantha Bruno played well offensively for us in the middle," Spagle said.

Cal State East Bay faced another test on Saturday, when Sonoma State visited Pioneer Gym.

The Cal State East Bay volleyball team became the first team this conference season to take two sets from Sonoma State, forcing a decisive fifth set against the first-place Seawolves before falling 3-2 (25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-11). The Pioneers (6-2, 2-2 CCAA) led 2-1 through three sets but saw the streaking Seawolves (7-2, 5-0) finish out the match with back-to-back victories in sets four and five.

"Our effort and intensity were much better tonight," Head Coach Jim Spagle said. "Even though we have nothing to show for it, we stayed true to our system and were consistently better at maintain our focus."

Kitona Offord's 14 kills and .435 hitting percentage paced the Pioneers in the defeat, as the junior middle blocker made just four errors in 23 attempts while adding four total blocks. Junior Nikki Long had her best performance so far, laying down 10 kills and hitting at a .333 clip with only two errors and contributing two block assists on the night.

"Nikki Long had an excellent night for us and our right side defense was significantly better than last night," Spagle said. "Our kids competed tonight. Now we just have to learn how to win those fifth games."

The Pioneers out-blocked Sonoma State 9-5, led by Samantha Bruno's five total blocks. Neither team hit particularly well, with the Seawolves just out-hitting East Bay at a .198 clip to the Pioneers' .186 percentage. Sonoma State had three players reach double figures in kills, led by Keala Peterson's 16-kill, 13-dig double-double. Allyson Sather and Kelsey Hull joined Peterson in double digits with 13 and 15 putaways, respectively.

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