Dec. 5, 2008

Courtesy of Cal State San Bernardino Athletics

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Cal State San Bernardino women's volleyball team motto for this impressive 2008 season has been "whatever it takes."
    And, the Coyotes, ranked No. 2 in the nation, did  whatever it took to defeat Truman State, 3-0, Friday to advance to the first NCAA Division II championship match in the history of the program.
    The Bulldogs, who have been to the national tournament five of the last eight years, put up a struggle before falling 25-23, 25-18, 25-23.
    All-American Jessica Granados was the match's most productive player with a double-double -- 14 kills, 11 digs and five block assists including one at match point as CSUSB reached the 30-win plateau for the second time in the 25-year history of the program at 30-3. 
    Truman State, which finished second in its conference and was ranked No. 8 in the nation, closed out its season at 33-8.
    The victory was the 10th straight for the Coyotes, all by 3-0 scores.
    CSUSB will face the winner of the Concordia-St. Paul-Grand Valley State semifinal in the title match at 5 p.m. PST. The match will be broadcast on broadband at (select "watch") or view the match through "live stats".
    This is only the second time in the 25-year history of Coyote Athletics that a team has reached the NCAA championship match/game. In 1994, the women's basketball team lost in the NCAA D-2 title game to North Dakota State after winning 29 games but an ineligible player forced CSUSB to vacate its victories that season.
    Senior Sara Rice had nine kills and three block assists, while sophomore Jane Chafeh had seven kills. Freshman Samantha Middleborn, who sat out Thursday's win over California PA. with a slight ankle sprain, contributed six block assists. Setter Sara Hoffman had 35 assists and Meghan Haas had 21 digs.
    The Coyotes hit .164 for the match while Truman hit just 0.08.
    CSUSB won the game at the net with 18 block assists and two solo blocks with the aid of some unforced Bulldogs errors.
    Eli Medina led the Bulldogs with seven kills and 10 digs. Lauren Greybeal also had seven kills. Whitney Boehler had 12 digs.
    The first and third sets were nail biters for both teams.
    With the scored tied at 18 in the first set, the Coyotes took advantage of two Truman errors and a block by Middleborn to take a 21-18 lead and led 24-20 on Granados' seventh kill of the set only to let the Bulldogs back into the set at 24-23 on three successive Coyote errors. CSUSB got set point on another Truman error. The set was tied 10 times and there were four lead changes.
    In the second set, after Truman pulled to within one at 8-7 on a CSUSB service error, the Coyotes went on a 6-0 run with Haas serving to lead 14-7 on a kill by Middleborn.  A Granados kill minutes later gave CSUSB a 17-10 lead and the Coyotes eventually won 25-18 on a kill by Chafeh.
    Truman kept on coming back in the third set, making up a 16-12 deficit, then taking the lead 19-18 on a kill by Erin Hattey and expanding the lead to 21-18 on a Coyote error and a Truman block of a Coyote attack. Trailing 22-19, CSUSB ran off three straight points to tie the set at 22-all on a service ace by Haas.
    It was tied at 23-all before a Truman error gave CSUSB match point and then the Coyotes blocked a Truman attack to take the match 25-23, outscoring Truman 6-1 down the stretch. The set was tied eight times with three lead changes.