RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Seattle U volleyball team split the opening day of the UC Riverside Classic with a pair of five set matches, falling to Penn, 3-2, in the opener before downing Cal State Fullerton by the same score, in come-from-behind fashion. As a result, the moved to 8-5 on the year.
The Redhawks will close the weekend against host UC Riverside on Saturday, first serve is slated for 5 pm.
Seattle U 2, Penn 3 (24-26, 25-19, 12-26, 25-14, 9-15)
The Redhawk attack was inconsistent in the opening match hitting .333 and .478 in the second and fourth, respectively, but was out of rhythm in the other three frames as it was held to .167 in the first and fifth and sub-zero in the third.
Rachel Stark led the offense with 13 kills to go along with 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Eve Kerschenbaum followed with 11 kills, while Lauren McCabe and Stark each finished with four blocks.
Seattle U started hot with a 7-0 lead, but quickly cooled as Penn trimmed the advantage to 9-8. The Quakers then used a 4-0 run midway through to claim a 15-14 lead. Seattle U forced ties at 19 and 22, but were unable to complete the rally.
A back-and-forth second, the Redhawks held a narrow 16-15 lead until Penn answered for the 13th tie of the frame. SU rebounded with back-to-back tallies before McCabe and Kerschenbaum contributed kills as part of a 4-2 spurt. Johnasia Carr and Amaris Carter teamed up for a timely block late, making it 22-18 to help Seattle U take the frame and tie the set.
The Redhawks were clipped early, falling behind 9-3 to open and were unable to get back into the frame.
Trailing the match 2-1, SU answered back in the fourth as it raced out to a 10-3 advantage to open. The Redhawks continued to control lead doubling their margin, 20-10, thanks in part to a kill and block from Carr helping Seattle U to force a fifth set.
The Redhawks struck first in the first, but quickly fell behind as Penn built an 8-3 advantage at the turn. Seattle U tried to rally late with kills from Stark and Sofia Sanchez, but the effort fell short as took the fifth set and the match.
Seattle U 3, Cal State Fullerton 2 (25-18, 17-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-9)
The Redhawks posted a more complete performance in the second match of the day with Stark leading the attack with a career-best 22 kills to go with 15 digs for her fifth double-double of the year. Kerschenbaum followed with 17 kills, while McCabe had nine. Carr also had a career night, notching seven kills and eight blocks, including three solo stops. Four Redhawks tallied double-figure digs with Tijana Milojevic leading the way with 18. SU out hit Cal State Fullerton, .221 to .168 in the match.
Seattle U slipped into a 6-1 hole early before mounting a 7-2 rally tying the match at eight-all. Carr then notched an assisted and solo block to nudge the Redhawks out front, 10-8. It was all SU from there as it pushed the score to 19-13 down the stretch before closing the frame on a 4-0 run.
Trailing 6-4 in the second, Seattle U again began to rally trimming the deficit to 9-8 before Stark landed a kills to make it 11-10. CSUF however forced a tie at 13-13 prior to rattling off four unanswered and never looking back.
Despite an early tie, the Redhawks trailed for the majority of the third falling behind 6-4 before slipping further back as the Titans assumed a 10-point advantage, 19-9, down the stretch. SU pushed back late with a trio of kills from Kerschenbaum but the deficit was to steep to overcome as CSUF took a 2-1 match lead.
In the fourth, Seattle U was blitzed by the Titans as it quickly trailed 9-0 to open. The Redhawks began to mount then began to mount their comeback with back-to-back kills by Stark while Carr assisted on a consecutive blocks narrowing the gap to 9-8. SU then forced ties at 10, 12, and 13 before Stark again found a seam for a kill, nudging the Redhawks out to a 14-13 lead. Possession then bounced back-and-forth until a Kerschenbaum ace sparked a 5-0 SU run, claiming a 22-19 lead. The Titans pulled within one late, 23-22, but it was not enough as Seattle U forced a fifth set.
It was all Seattle U in the fifth as it led 4-1 early before claiming an 8-4 advantage at the turn. CSUF tallied two quick points following the switch but an attack error cut its rally short, making it 10-6, Seattle U. The Redhawks though kept the Titans at bay en route to completing the come-from-behind win.