Aug. 29, 2009
FRESNO - After Friday night's tough loss to host Fresno State, CSUB volleyball Head Coach John Price said his young team would get better, not just over the course the season, but from set to set.
Saturday, his Roadrunners proved him right. Their biggest leap came mentally, where a never-say-die attitude kept them in a tough match with and experienced University of the Pacific squad before bringing them all the way back from two sets down to upend Wisconsin-Green Bay in five.
UOP earned a 27-25, 25-23, 25-16 win early before CSUB's dramatic 23-25, 15-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-12 win over UWGB in the evening.
The win was first time CSUB has come from two sets down win a match at the NCAA Division I level. The timing couldn't have been better according to Price.
"I thought we fought well and played hard all tournament," said Price. "I'm proud of the effort. It gave us chances against two bigger and more experienced teams and I was really happy it paid off with a win against a tough Green Bay team.
"We still have some growing up to do, but we did a lot this weekend and we'll try to build on that."
The Roadrunners came out flat against UWGB, and the Phoenix took advantage, holding off a late CSUB rally to take the first set before rolling to a big lead in winning the second.
But CSUB caught fire in the third set. Barbie Unfried (Bakersfield HS) and middle blocker Alysia Baker (Vista/Tri-City Christian HS) led the way, collecting 11 of the 18 Roadrunner kills in the set. Unfried had seven on her own--a career-high for one set for the senior setter.
UWGB righted its ship temporarily in the fourth set, overcoming an early CSUB lead to take control at 21-16. That, however, is when the grit the Roadrunners displayed all weekend finally paid tangible dividends.
Four Lindy DeGeare (Stockdale HS) kills sparked a 6-1 CSUB run that knotted the match at 22-22. The Phoenix mustered one more rally and served for the match at 24-23 following a Lindsay Toone (Liberty HS) reception error. But the junior, playing just her third match in the front row at the NCAA level, responded with a huge kill.
Senior libero Kayla Williamson (Stockdale HS) then served out the set, including her lone ace of the night on set point.
Another Toone kill began a 4-1 run to open the fifth set and CSUB never trailed. UWGB pulled to within 13-11 late, but the teams traded side outs from there, with a pair of Baker kills closing the match.
Baker and Unfried led CSUB with 14 kills apiece. The totals were career-highs for both players. DeGeare added 13 kills while Toone chipped in career highs of 12 kills and 22 digs.
Junior setter Whitney Schott led UWGB with 45 assists to go along with seven kills and two blocks. Holly Visser led all attackers with 16 kills for the Phoenix.
Baker and Schott both earned all-tournament honors.
CSUB (1-2 overall) continues its 32-day season-opening roadtrip Friday when it opens against the host Hornets at the Sacramento State Invitational. The Roadrunners will face Santa Clara and UC Riverside Saturday.
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