By: Derryl Trujillo 

— Contributing Writer 

  • CSUSB (25-4): 25-13-25-25-15 = 3
  • Cal Poly Pomona (23-4): 17-25-27-19-10 = 2

SAN BERNARDINO (Coussoulis Arena) – For two hours this past Saturday night, Cal Poly Pomona pushed Cal State San Bernardino in the CCAA women’s volleyball championship match, taking a 2-1 lead in sets and nearly ending several streaks. However, the Lady Coyotes stepped it up, comfortably winning sets four and five, to claim another CCAA tournament title. The No. 2 Yotes are the No. 1 seed and will host the upcoming NCAA West Region Championship. As announced during the NCAA Division II Selection Show Monday, November 22, the West Region will be December 2 – 4 in Coussoulis Arena.

How’d it happen?

In set one Cal State San Bernardino grabbed an early 13-10 lead off consecutive assisted blocks by Jenna Patton and Melissa Garciglia and Patton and Asia Clarke. Kills from Alexis Cardoza and Clarke put the Coyotes up 1-0 with the 25-17 win. Cal Poly was held to an .029% attacking percentage (8K, 7E, 35A) while the Coyotes hit .250% (12K, 4E, 32A). There were seven ties and one lead change all within the first twenty points (10-10).

Cal Poly Pomona took a 14-8 lead in set two off consecutive kills from Daisy Duke and Kaitlan Tucker’s kill made it 20-11 Broncos. An ace by Kira Zimmerman evened the match as the Broncos took set two 25-13. Cal Poly hit a sizzling .351% with fourteen kills on one lone error while holding CSUSB to a .051% mark.

Makenna Overbey’s ace plus kills from Clarke and Garciglia put the Coyotes up 21-18 in the third before a pair of kills by Duke tied it at 21. Kills from Patton and Cardoza tied things at 24 and another Overbey ace put the Coyotes up 25-24. A Kylie Brandt kill took the Broncos off set point and back-to-back Cardoza attack errors ended it, one with some controversy as the Coyotes thought it grabbed the back line. Cal Poly hit .311% with three errors in the set to the Coyotes .184% and seven errors.

Leading in kills for Cal State University San Bernardino was Alexis Cardoza (3), who collected 19 kills and had 10 digs. Valley News/Will McNeil; CCAA

Cardoza and Patton combined on consecutive assisted blocks to put the Coyotes up 12-7 in set four and a kill from Clarke forced extras as CSUSB won 25-19. They hit a match high .324% for the set with fourteen kills and just two errors.

Ruki Kennedy and Duke combined for a pair of blocks to tie things at three in the fifth. Clarke then gave the Coyotes a 4-3 lead with her sixth kill and her eighth put them on championship point. Leila To’omalatai then ended the match just as it had started two hours previously with a service ace.

Reaction…

Broncos coach Tracy Dahl said about the match “We battled all day but just played tight in that fifth which quickly got away from us. At the beginning of the year there was a lot of teaching. However, tonight I just sat back and watched them execute at a really high level.”

Meanwhile Coyotes coach Kim Cherniss said “I’m so proud of our team for finding a way to right the ship against a quality opponent like Cal Poly Pomona. They dug a lot of balls and were very physical, making us earn every point with several long rallies.”

Marlee Nunley added “Trust and communication are huge for us in spots like that. You know that you’ll do everything possible to keep a ball from dropping and so will the person next to you. There’s more urgency to do little things like covering a hitter because if we don’t we lose.”

Overbey added “We feed off the energy from our crowd and team in 5th sets like tonight. Defense fuels that energy, especially when you see someone get up a crazy ball and keep a point alive until your team can finish it.”

Clarke added “Alexis and Jaylin are such great captains who really motivate us out there. They give us an extra push to get things done in the clutch.”

The Numbers:

43 – Number of assists by Marlee Nunley in the win.

40 – Number of consecutive wins against CCAA competition by the Coyotes.

19 – Kills for Alexis Cardoza, Back-to-Back CCAA Player of the Year and reigning National Player of the Year.

16 – Kills for Daisy Duke of Cal Poly in a loss.

13 – Number of points that CSUSB was outhit by (.222% for Cal Poly to .209% for the Coyotes).

4 – Number of five set wins in 2021 for CSUSB

Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at socaltrekkie@gmail.com.