Williamson hits milestone, UCSD wins
Senior breaks 1,000-kill barrier in sweep of Grand Canyon
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- UC San Diego and Grand Canyon hadn't met in a volleyball match since 2005, but the layoff didn't seem to matter much to the 15th-ranked Tritons. They swept the Antelopes on Thursday in a first-round contest at the NCAA West Regional at Coussoulis Arena.
UCSD, playing in its sixth consecutive NCAA postseason, had 47 kills to GCU's 31 to win fairly easily by scores of 25-20, 25-19 and 25-21. The Tritons move on to Friday's semifinals with a 22-5 overall record, while the Antelopes finished their 2011 campaign at 22-7.
The second seed in the West Regional, UC San Diego will take on 23rd-ranked and third-seeded Sonoma State at 5 p.m. Friday in a semifinal match at Coussoulis Arena. The Seawolves dispatched sixth-seeded Hawaii-Hilo, 3-1, in Thursday's first match.
Senior Hillary Williamson, recently named first team All-CCAA and a Daktronics west region all-star, totaled a match co-high 11 kills for the Tritons. She entered the night needing just two put-aways for 1,000 in her career and it didn't take long. Her 999th kill came on the second play of the match, putting UCSD up 2-0. Down 9-8 a few plays later, her 1,000th kill tied the first set at 9-9 and the Tritons would not trail again.
The second set remained tight early until UCSD started opening up a lead with a five-point spurt to take a 13-9 lead. Sara McCutchan had a pair of kills in the onslaught. The Tritons upped their lead to nine points late, but the Antelopes strung together five consecutive points to get within four at 23-19. However, back-to-back kills by Natasha Wilroy and McCutchan, both off sets from Brunsting, put UCSD up 2-0 in sets.
Williamson is just the second Triton in program history to finish a career with at least 1,000 digs and 1,000 kills. Stacy Dunsmore recorded 1,195 digs and 1,182 kills from 2001-04.
It's been a season of high marks for Tritons as setter Roxanne Brunsting recently got her 1,000th career assist to go along with her 1,582 career digs. Libero Janessa Werhane joined the club by digging her 1,000th ball earlier in the season. Up next should be outside hitter Katie Condon, who has registered 992 career kills after adding seven against Grand Canyon on Thursday.
UCSD is now 14-1 all-time against Grand Canyon. The last time the two teams played was Sept. 8, 2005 when UC San Diego logged a 3-1 win. The Tritons have won the last nine match-ups against the 'Lopes, with Grand Canyon's lone win of the series coming in November of 2000.
UCSD and SSU have met twice already this season, splitting the regular season CCAA matches. On Oct. 1, the Seawolves took a 3-1 victory in Rohnert Park, while the Tritons avenged the loss with a 3-0 sweep over Sonoma at RIMAC Arena on Nov. 4.
The two league foes also met up in the first round of the 2010 NCAA West Regional at Cal State San Bernardino. The Tritons swept that match to move on to the seminfinals against the host Coyotes.
UCSD leads the all-time series against Sonoma State by a hefty 24-6 advantage.