Nov. 20, 2008

Courtesy of WOU Athletics

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.- Western Oregon head volleyball coach Brad Saindon perhaps said it best.

"Cal Poly Pomona played extremely well, we had our worst match of the season, and that is just a very bad combination," said the Wolves leader, whose team lost to the Broncos 25-19, 25-12, 25-20 at the NCAA Division II west region championship on Thursday.

The stunning loss brought an end to a very successful season for first-year leader Saindon and his team. WOU finished 22-3 on the year and won its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship.

But this day belonged to the No. 3 seeded Broncos, who improved to 19-7 on the season. They have won eight of their last ten matches.

Cal Poly Pomona never trailed in the first set in moving to the 25-19 victory, and WOU had only one lead (1-0) in the second set. The Broncos went on a 10-1 run midway through that game to cruise to a 2-0 lead in the match.

Western Oregon took the early margin in the third and deciding set, posting a 13-9 edge at the midway point. But the Broncos then scored four consecutive points to tie the match, and moments later took the lead for good on a kill by Jenna Young (15-14). CPP would extend its lead and later wrap up the contest after a WOU attack error (25-20).

The Wolves hit just .052 in the match and Cal Poly had 10 blocks. â€oeWe had 23 hitting errors, which is completely out of character for us, Saindon said. "Give credit to Cal Poly for that, they are very physical and played very well at the net. I was really impressed with them, if they play like they did today, they can beat anybody in this tournament."

Western Oregon was led by senior Stacey Bennett's 12 kills and two service aces. Danielle English had 14 digs and Amy Herron had 13. Anne-Marie Hofmans and Young had 11 kills to pace the Broncos, who tied for second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with a 15-5 mark. Vanessa Williams added five block assists.


"It was a very disappointing day, but not a disappointing year," he explained. "We were prepared, but we just didn't play well today. It is hard to understand the psychology of it. I thought that we were loose and ready to go, but it just didn't happen for us today.

"We lose three very important seniors today, but we have a very strong returning group and have already signed an excellent recruiting class," Saindon continued. "I am very proud of this team and also extremely excited about next year."