Broncos trample Pioneers in Hayward

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

Things got off to a great start for the Cal State East Bay women’s volleyball team on Saturday night. The Pioneers managed to take the first set against California Collegiate Athletic Association opponent Cal Poly Pomona 25-23 for an early 1-0 advantage.

However, they couldn’t carry that early success over to the rest of the match and lost the final three sets to the Broncos at the Pioneer Gymnasium in Hayward.Pomona improved to 15-11 overall and 11-7 overall in conference play, while CSUEB fell to 5-21 overall and just 3-15 in CCAA matches. “Nothing comes easy in this conference,” Broncos Head Coach Rosie Wegrich said. “A road win is big, especially when you drop the first set. I’d say it woke us up.”

CSUEB outside hitter Kiani Rayford was dominant in the opening frame; the sophomore had several big kills and finished the first set with 8 total. A pair of freshman, middle blocker Deja Thompson and outside hitter Kiki Leuteneker, also made some big plays in the set and picked up the other 7 of the team’s 15 kills in the first set. The first set loss was a wakeup call for Pomona who came back with a vengeance.


The Pioneers kept the score close, but after a late substitution in the second set, the Broncos rattled off 5 points in a row to take a 22-16 lead. CSUEB scored the next 3 points to narrow the lead to 22-19, but Pomona bounced back and managed to close out the Pioneers 25-19. “They played tough and we made a lot of mistakes,” Broncos freshman middle blocker Kristen Hamlin said. “We know what we want to do out there. Sometimes a team can make you adjust, but once we got back to our game plan things started flowing.”

The Broncos adjusted well and after a close start in the third set, jumped out to a 17-10 lead after a huge kill from Hamlin. CSUEB scored just three more times in the set and Pomona was able to capture the third 25-13 after another big kill by senior middle blocker Christen Williams on a perfect assist from sophomore setter Alina Smith. Hamlin collected a game-high 19 kills in the victory while senior setter Nicoletta Stork and junior outside hitter Hannah Harrer both chipped in with 10 kills each.


Despite CSUEB netting more attacks, 157-151, the Broncos had the advantage in total kills 61-45. Rayford and Leuteneker led the offensive effort for the Pioneers in the match. Rayford recorded a team-high 16 kills while the freshman Leuteneker was second with 14 in the match. Once again, CSUEB kept the contest close in the final set, which was back and forth until about midway through. With the score 11-9 in favor of the Broncos, the Pioneers made some substitutions and Pomona found scoring chances.

The Broncos went on to outscore CSUEB 14-7 the rest of the way and secure the final set triumph 25-16 and the match 3-1. Both teams have just two games remaining before the CCAA postseason tournament begins on Nov. 19 in La Jolla at Rimac Arena. The Pioneers’ final game is today at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Gymnasium in Hayward against Cal State San Marcos (6-21 overall, 3-15 conference). The Broncos will have to travel to Seaside on Saturday to take on Cal State Monterey Bay (5-18, 4-14) at 7 p.m. at The Kelp Bed.