Volleyball bounces back, sinks Otters

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

After losing two straight matches, the Cal State East Bay volleyball team bounced back over the weekend as they traveled to Monterey Bay and left with a 3-2 victory.

“This last game against Monterey was a really big game for us,” junior middle blocker Deja Thompson said. “Lately we were struggling getting road wins, so the fact that we battled back and left our game with a win was major for us.”

On Friday the team had a back and forth battle with California State Monterey Bay (8-5 overall, 2-3 CCAA).

Ahead of this match, the two teams were tied for second place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, North Division standings.

The Pioneers had beat Monterey earlier in the season on Sept. 13, where they beat the Otters 3-1 in their home opener, but this match was much different than the previous meeting. The otters gave East Bay more problems.

“Our conference is one of the best around,” sophomore outside hitter Lindsey Ray said. “We have to be sure to remain focused when playing every team.”

In the first set, the Pioneers led the entire game, but Monterey continued to stay within close range of the Pioneers.

East Bay hit for .275  compared to Monterey’s .150 and was led by Thompson to a 25-21 win in the first set as she tallied 6 kills.

In the second set Monterey took control as they led 3-0 to start the set. Just as the Pioneers had done in the first set in leading the whole time, the Otters did the same to East Bay.  

Monterey had a total of 16 kills compare to East Bay’s 10 in the set, which helped them maintain the upper hand.

In the third set, it seemed as if Monterey’s momentum from the previous game would carry them to victory. However, the Otters took a 4-0 lead to start the set, capitalizing on East  Bay’s errors.

After Monterey took a 5-1 lead, they made a substitution and East Bay went on a 6-0 run once the game resumed. The Pioneers never looked back from that point and were able to keep the lead for the rest of the set and win 25-21, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

The back and for the battle continued as the two teams headed into the fourth set. This time, the Otters completely dominated the Pioneers in a 25-13 massacre.

East Bay hit for a measly .086 and the Otters hit for .438 in a completely dominant performance. The otters also had no errors in the set.

“We really let them back in the game,” Thompson said. “ We handled them in the first game, they took the second, and we took them in the third, but the in the fourth we gave them all the momentum instead of getting it done.”

The loss tied the match 2-2 and forced it to a game 5 where Ray stepped up for the Pioneers.

With the Otters up 13-9, two points from winning the game, Ray put the team on her back and had 3 straight kills, to bring the game within one point.

“I had a good feeling,” Ray said. “We were down, but we were playing well, I knew we could do it. Coach Spagle kept us going with motivation and I wasn’t going to lose without a fight.”

After a timeout, senior libero Brandi Brucato fired a service ace to tie the score at 13-13.

Another timeout was called by Monterey and once the game resumed, Thompson hit a kill, then shortly after Ray hit another one to solidify the 15-13 set win and a 3-2 victory.

4 days later, the Pioneers traveled to Humboldt State (3-10,2-5) and fell 1-3, which puts their record at (9-5,3-3).

Next up for the Pioneers is a three-game homestand with the first match tomorrow at 7 p.m. against Sonoma State (13-3, 7-0). East Bay will host San Francisco State (6-9, 2-5) on Saturday at 7 p.m. and then Hawaii Hilo (5-7, 2-4) will visit on Tuesday for the final game of the homestand also at 7 p.m.