Nov. 20, 2008

Courtesy Cal St. San Bernardino Athletics

SAN BERNARDINO, CA. - Fifth-seed Chico State did Thursday night what they couldn't do in two matches during the regular season with Sonoma State - beat the fourth-seeded Seawolves, 3-0, to advance to the NCAA Division II West Regional semifinals in Coussoulis Arena at Cal State San Bernardino.

The Wildcats, 21-10, prevailed 25-16, 25-23 and 25-22 for the right to face the winner of the Cal State San Bernardino-BYU Hawaii match at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

The other semifinal will feature Cal State L.A. (21-7) against Cal Poly Pomona (19-7) at 5 p.m.

Junior outside hitter Gillian Heydorff led the Wildcats with a double-double - 16 kills and 15 digs while senior hitter Linday Macias also doubled with 12 kills and 12 digs. Freshman Makenzie Snyder came up big with 14 kills. Senior setter Erica Brick had 43 assists and 10 digs. Defensive specialist Abbey Ranzau had 16 digs.

Senior Kristy Sather led the Seawolves (23-7) with 10 kills. Lindsay Brown had 28 assists and Taylor Krenwinkel came up with 24 digs while Kelsey Dall added another 17 for the Seawolves who were ranked No. 2 in the nation in digs per set entering the weekend.

Chico State hit at a .208 percentage (53 for 149 with 22 errors) while Sonoma hit just .181 (33 of 127 with just 10 errors). Chico actually had more digs (75) than Sonoma (69).

Seawolves Head Coach Bear Grassl, leading a team making its first post-season appearance since 1993, said Chico's "playoff experience was obvious."

"The matches we won could have gone either way but tonight they had better energy early. I thought if we had a chance in game two and a win there would have definitely helped us out," he said.

"We made the fewest errors of any team in the conference this season and we had low errors again tonight but we couldn't find enough kills."

Set two was tied at 23-23 on a kill by Snyder, then Chico's Megan Cape blocked an attack by Sather and Snyder finished off the set, 25-23, on an assist from Brick.

In set three, Chico State built a 23-18 lead but the Seawolves fought back to get within two at 24-22 on a Chico error but Macias closed out the match with a kill off a feed from Brick.