Dec. 4, 2008

Courtesy of Concordia-St. Paul

ST. PAUL, Minn. – #2-ranked California State University San Bernardino (29-3) used 51 kills and .313 hitting performance to take a 3-0 win over California (Pa.) (40-2) in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Division II Volleyball Championships.  The Coyotes will play the winner between #8 Truman State and Nova Southeastern in the semifinals on Friday at 5:00 pm.

CSUSB overcame a 10-15 deficit in the opening set of the tournament to overtake the Vulcans 25-23.  California (Pa.) was the more accurate hitting squad in the opening sets of the match, hitting well into the .250 range.  Junior outside hitter Joanna Nist tabbed six kills in the first set.  CSUSB’s Sara Rice, a senior middle hitter, gave her Coyotes the edge late in the set, notching seven kills en route to the win.

Cal State San Bernardino’s offense heated up as the match wore on as the squad distanced themselves from the competition.  The Coyotes did not commit a hitting error in the final set, tabbing 17 kills with a .630 hitting average.  The Vulcans hit just .097 in the final set.

Rice was the leading hitter on the afternoon with 16 kills and a .481 hitting average.  She also added a solo block and two block assists.  Jessica Granados had 13 kills and nine digs for Cal State San Bernardino.  The defensive effort was guided by Meghan Haas with 13 digs.  CSUSB had 49 digs and four team blocks in the win.

Junior middle hitter Ludmila Amaral finished with a team high 12 kills for California (Pa.).  Thais Franca added 11 kills as the fourth and final player in the match to tab double figures in kills.  Mallory Demarco notched eight digs to lead the defense, followed by four players with seven digs.  The Vulcans had 36 kills with a .214 hitting average, 43 digs and five team blocks.  The loss ended a 24-match win streak.

Match Notes:
CSU San Bernardino – The Coyotes are in their third NCAA Elite Eight in the last six years … they have won three consecutive CCAA Championships.

California (Pa.) - California is making its eighth NCAA Volleyball Championship appearance, all of which have come in the last nine years ... This is the Vulcan's fourth consecutive appearance ... This is California's second consecutive Elite Eight appearance and third overall ... The Vulcans lost in the 2000 semifinals in their first-ever championship appearance ... They lost to eventual national champion Concordia last year ... Today's loss ends a 24-match winning streak for the Vulcans, during which time they won 72 of 76 sets ... California had won 28 of their 41 matches in three games prior to today's loss ... The set-one loss was the Vulcans' first opening-set loss since dropping a 3-1 decision to Indianapolis (9/26/08) ... California was 4-1 when losing set one before today's loss ... The Vulcans finish the season with a 15-2 record versus opponents who played in this year's Championship.