California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

Volleyball held winless on SoCal road trip

Freshman+Veronica+Fabiano+sets+up+fellow+freshman+Micah+Hammond+for+a+kill+at+Pioneer+Stadium+last+week.
Freshman Veronica Fabiano sets up fellow freshman Micah Hammond for a kill at Pioneer Stadium last week.

Freshman Veronica Fabiano sets up fellow freshman Micah Hammond for a kill at Pioneer Stadium last week.

Photo | Tam Duong Jr.

Photo | Tam Duong Jr.

Freshman Veronica Fabiano sets up fellow freshman Micah Hammond for a kill at Pioneer Stadium last week.

Louis LaVenture,
Sports Editor

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The road trip was not kind to the Cal State East Bay women’s volleyball team.

The Southern California excursion ended in four losses for the Pioneers, who have lost their last eight matches in a row for a 5-13 overall record and a 2-11 record in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.

The final loss came on Saturday at the hands of the Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes, 13-4 overall, 10-3 conference, who are on a streak of their own winning their last five matches.

The Pioneers were able to force the Coyotes to four sets, making every set close before falling to CSUSB 3-1.

Coach Jim Spagle remained optimistic during his team’s tough losing streak.

“The match [Saturday] was a big step in the right direction,” Spagle said. “We played really solid volleyball, and the culture on the court was that of a team that is beginning to trust and play for one another.”

After losing the first set the Pioneers came back strong in the second before the Coyotes tied it at 23. Seniors Amber Hall and Samantha Bruno stepped up for CSUEB and made the final two kills taking the second set 25-23 and tying the match 1-1.

Despite playing tough, the Pioneers lost the next two sets to the 14th ranked CSUSB Coyotes by finals of 28-26 and 25-21.

CSUEB has 17 players on their roster and 10 of them are freshman that have become major contributors. Freshmen Kiani Rayford, Jovan Turner and Micah Hammond combined for 18 kills, six digs and three blocks in the losing effort.

Senior Bruno talked about the youth on the team earlier this season.

“We have a lot of new young faces on this year’s team,” Bruno said. “The freshmen have really been good this year.”

Coach Spagle was also high about the youth on this year’s squad.

“With the addition of 10 new faces this season, the challenge has, and continues to be the blending of all of the personalities, styles of play and skills into a cohesive team that competes as one,” Spagle said. “I have seen some light bulbs go on the past couple of matches, so I am confident with continued focus and desire, this team can really do some damage in the CCAA the last month of the season.” Bruno had a team-high with 16 kills in the match and fellow senior Hall finished just behind her with 15 kills of her own.

Seniors Ashia Joseph and Veronica Sanchez also had big statistical days for the Pioneers with 31 and 15 digs respectively. “We really have to get to know each other and play our system to be successful,” Sanchez said at a practice earlier this season.

Junior Angie Maina led CSUEB in digs on the day finishing with a total of 26. The Pioneers will be looking for some hometown magic as they return to Hayward for their next five matches. “The team is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd, and continuing the transformation from a large group of individually talented volleyball players to a team that competes and deeply believes in one another,” Spagle said.

The next two matches will be against teams having struggles of their own this season in the forms of Cal State Stanislaus tomorrow and Chico State on Saturday.

The Warriors have lost their last two matches and have a record of 2-15 overall and 2-11 in conference competition. The Chico State Wildcats have been a little better in the 2014 season, amassing an 8-9 overall record and a 6-7 CCAA conference record.

Photo | Tam Duong Jr.

 

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Volleyball held winless on SoCal road trip