Volleyball survives thriller in Hayward

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

It wasn’t easy for the Cal State East Bay women’s volleyball team, but in the end they got it done.

The Pioneers defeated Cal State Stanislaus 3-2 Tuesday night at the Pioneer Gymnasium, which improved them to 3-8 overall and 1-2 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play.

In the fifth and final set, the Warriors tied CSUEB on a kill by Taylor Massengale that made the score 13-13. Sophomore Kiani Rayford killed a shot on an assist from sophomore Kylie Fraga that put the Pioneers up 14-13. On the next play, Fraga did it again, this time she set up freshman Kathy McKiernan for the game-winning kill.

Despite their 8-2 overall record and jumping out to an early 2-0 lead, CSUS could not handle the offensive barrage brought by the Pioneers. CSUEB had several chances to win the first two sets but still managed to win three sets in a row to secure the conference victory.

Many of the freshman will be asked to jump right into the red hot skillet known as the CCAA right from the start

It was a pair of freshman, Kiki Leuteneker and Julie Navarro, who along with sophomore Rayford led the way for the Pioneers. Leuteneker led the team with 17 kills while Navarro and Rayford each tallied 14.

CSUEB Head Coach Jim Spagle was confident that his young players would have a large role before the 2015 fall season began.

“Many of the freshman will be asked to jump right into the red hot skillet known as the CCAA right from the start,” Spagle said.

The freshmen were huge for the Pioneers and McKiernan played in all five sets for CSUEB and recorded 7 kills, including the game-winner.

Freshman Deja Thompson also added in 5 kills for CSUEB. The rookies combined for 43 of the team’s 67 kills on the night.

Warriors juniors Blair Ehrlich, Jocelyn Cervantes and Massengale led the way for CSUS and the three juniors combined for 41 of their team’s 61 kills and made several crucial plays throughout the match.

“Every team we play is good,” Ehrlich said. “Just gotta keep working and get better all around. They’re tough.”

The Pioneers forced the first set to go long and despite an error from Massengale, CSUEB could not capitalize and lost 29-27. Set two was very different, as the Warriors took complete control. After a kill by junior Paige Walker and a service ace by junior Maddi Seidl, the score was 18-16 when CSUEB called timeout. The momentum carried on after the break for CSUS and they finished off the Pioneers in the set 25-19.

“Don’t stop,” Seidl said during the timeout. “Keep going, keep putting the pressure on.”

CSUEB dominated the third set and won by 10 points, 25-15. It was the freshmen again that stepped up to close out the fourth set as Leuteneker and Navarro picked up the final 2 kills, which tied the game at 2-2 to set up the thrilling final set victory.

Next up for the Pioneers is a road trip on Saturday to take on CSU San Marcos (3-9 overall, 0-4 conference) at Hunter Gymnasium at 3 p.m.

The next home game for CSUEB is Tuesday at 7 p.m. when the Chico State Wildcats (11-3, 3-1) come to town.