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October 11, 2011 > East Bay hangs in but loses

East Bay hangs in but loses

Submitted By Kelly Hayes

October 7
Though it battled hard throughout and nearly pushed the match to a fifth set, an upset was not in the cards for the Cal State East Bay volleyball team, falling to third-ranked Cal State San Bernardino, 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-14, 25-22). The Pioneers (10-5, 5-5 CCAA) laid down 52 kills and posted five blocks, the undefeated Coyotes (15-0, 10-0) were better, hitting at a .351 clip and notching 12 blocks in the victory.

"This team is very solid, but our consistency on the court must improve," Head Coach Jim Spagle said. "We have to become far more resilient when things don't go our way and work diligently at turning a negative into a positive. With that said, though, I am proud of the way our athletes competed this evening. We just need to learn to finish strong and maintain our aggressive style of play."

Leading an assertive attack for the Pioneers were sophomore Katie Allen and junior Kitona Offord, who combined for 25 of the team's 52 kills on the night. Allen paced the team with 13 putaways and added eight digs and an ace. Offord was East Bay's best hitter, swinging at a .476 clip and posting 12 kills and a block. Juniors Kristin Neary and Danielle Stewart again shared the setting duties, with Neary dishing out 35 assists and leading the team with three aces. Junior Nicole Boyle got in on the action as well, falling just one kill shy of a double-double with 13 digs and nine putaways in the match.

At the net, both Morgan Hirzel and Samantha Bruno stepped up to the challenge of the Coyotes' dangerous middle hitters, combining for seven total blocks along with 13 kills. Senior libero Leslie Ray led the defense, posting 22 digs and just one serve reception error in 23 chances. Allen was also a stellar passer, leading the team with 32 serve reception attempts and only one error.

The road to victory went through Cal State San Bernardino's impressive middle hitters, led by reigning AVCA Player of the Year Samantha Middleborn. The senior laid down 19 kills with just one error on the night, hitting at an astounding .720 clip. Not to be outdone, fellow middle blocker Megan Johnson put away 11 kills and bested Middleborn with a .769 hitting percentage in the match. Johnson also helped the Coyotes post a 12-5 advantage in blocks with eight block assists on the night. The pair were nearly unstoppable, committing just two attack errors and combining to hit at a .736 clip while adding 13 total blocks between them.

Morgan Carty gave the Coyotes a double-figure trifecta, laying down 10 kills while posting a double-double with 11 digs. Carty also added five total blocks and a pair of aces for CSUSB, while setter Camille Smith led all players with 42 assists and completed her own double-double with 10 digs.

It wasn't all fun and games for the Coyotes, though, who committed nine service errors and five blocking errors in the match. The Pioneers dropped in seven aces against the CSUSB backline, with three coming in the second set. East Bay also held off set-point for the Coyotes seven times in the match, including a string that saw the Pioneers score four straight points to not only stop CSUSB from gaining a 2-0 advantage but also to come from behind to win in the second set.

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