By Devan Lee |Staff Writer|
CSUSB Women’s Volleyball won the opening match against Central Washington in the 2012 NCAA Western Regional.
Their recent victory has pleased head coach Kim Cherniss, who expects a great deal from her girls.
“I’m very happy to have this winning traditon continue,” said Cherniss.
The Lady Yotes traveled all the way to Laie, Hawaii on Nov. 29th.
They faced a Central Washington Wildcat team that went into the game with an overall record of 28 wins and 7 losses.
A cocktail of fresh and veteran talent made it possible for the Coyotes to pull a 3-2 come from behind victory against the Wildcats.
Freshman outside hitter Alexandria Torline had a season high 21 kills, which proved to be essential in the Coyote victory.
Following Torline’s efforts were performances from senior middle blocker Mercedes Winchester, junior outside hitter Danielle Newcombe and freshman outside hitter Ashley Solis, who ultimately kept the momentum for the Lady Yotes going.
All three players reached double digit kill efforts.
Winchester, who earned honorable mention honors by the AVCA earlier that week, ended the game with an impressive 8 block assists.
The Lady Yotes ended the game with a total of 24 block assists.
Newcombe, sophomore libero Arielle McCullough, sophomore defensive specialist Jordan Ortega and All-American Setter Camille Smith were the four Coyotes who each ended the match with dig performances reaching in the double digits.
The Lady Yotes had a total of 81 digs by the end of the match.
Smith, who had a total of 11 digs on Thursday, earned All-region honors earlier in the week for her impressive performance this season.
She also managed to reach a peak of 3000 assists in her career as a Coyote.
Smith, who ended Thursday’s match with a total of 61 set assists, only needed 25 to break 3000.
The game was an intense battle as the teams found themselves all knotted at two sets apiece, going into the decisive 5th set.
The final set was exhilarating as it featured seven ties.
The Coyotes were able to pull ahead 11-9 with a kill from Torline and a block assist from Smith and Winchester.
After a block from Emmy Dolan, a Wildcat outside hitter, Winchester gave the Coyotes the lead once again with a kill, making the score 12-10.
The Coyotes maintained their two-point lead even after a service error by Newcombe.
Smith and Winchester were at it again and earned another block assist, putting the score at 13-11.
After Central Washington took a time-out, they were able to close within a point on a kill from freshman outside hitter Rachel Hanses.
A kill from Solis, however, extended the lead Coyote’s lead to 14-12.
The Coyotes finally managed to put their opponent away with a block assist from Solis and fellow freshman outside hitter Jade Robinson.
All in all, the athleticism of these women was enough for CSUSB to come away with an early post-season victory.
The intense match featured 21 ties and five lead changes. CSUSB prevailed with a season-best 71 kills and 81 digs.
The ladies will look for continued success, as they plan on to advance far into the playoffs once again.
With banners representing their victorious championships held high across the Coussoulis Arena, another spot is ready to be filled.