ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- For the 15th time in the last 16 seasons the Coyotes will appear in the West Region volleyball final.
No. 22-ranked CSUSB fought back from a two-set deficit and rode a wave of momentum in Saturday night's 3-2 win over top-seed and host Alaska Anchorage before a crowd off 2,256 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Now the only team standing in the way of a trip to the NCAA finals in Tampa, Fla., is second-seed Western Washington. Match time for Sunday's West Region title is 5 p.m. Pacific time.
All-West Region standout senior Alexandra Torline led the Coyotes with a season-high 30 kills, along with 18 digs and two block assists in their 26-28, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16, 15-12 victory over the ninth-ranked Seawolves, who finished the season 27-3.
Sophomore OH Lauren Nicholson recorded 21 kills and 15 digs as the Coyotes set a team-season high of 96 digs to assist on their defensive effort.
And it couldn't be lost that senior Kaitlyn Christner, who stepped into the libero position last month, led with a team-season best 29 digs.
CSUSB twice had set point in the opener, but UAA showed why it was the top team in the West for most of the season. At 26-26, UAA's Taylor Noga had an ace and Leah Swiss added a kill for the win.
In the second, UAA grabbed the lead from the outset and never trailed to go up 2-0.
GAMECENTER: Cal State San Bernandino vs. Alaska Anchorage
Torline, who had 10 kills through two sets, keyed the Coyotes with seven in 14 attacks in the third. Tied at 3-3 in the set and with Abbey Vollkommer serving, CSUSB scored six straight points to go ahead 9-3.
Nicholson gave the Coyotes their largest lead of the set with a kill at 21-10 and CSUSB stopped UAA's momentum with a third-set win
The fourth was much of the same as Torline again led with eight kills. CSUSB took the lead for good on a Nicholson kill that put the Coyotes ahead 3-2. CSUSB hit .442 on 21 kills, just two errors in 43 attacks and defensively stunted UAA at just .190.
With the match tied at 2-2, the Coyotes took the fifth set lead early, going ahead with four straight points, thanks to a pair of kills from Torline.
Nicholson later added three successive kills to push the lead to 9-4. UAA didn't give up and got to within two (13-11) on a service ace from Noga.
But after a CSUSB timeout, Torline had a kill, and following a Coyote service error, Torline finished the night with her 30th kill for the victory.
Junior All-CCAA MB Malika O'Brien had 11 kills with three block assists, while freshman setter Jayann DeHoog had 62 assists with eight digs and two block assists with a pair of kills.
Senior Ashley Solis had three kills with 14 digs, and senior All-American Brenna McIntosh had six kills with three block assists.