SEATTLE — In spite of pre-match Senior Day festivities, it was youth that prevailed for Seattle U volleyball in Saturday’s 3-1 victory (18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 30-25) over CSU Bakersfield in Western Athletic Conference action. With the result, the Redhawks (11-15, 2-10 WAC) snapped a six-match skid and preserved hope of a seventh-consecutive postseason bid.
Eve Kerschenbaum led the Redhawk attack as the sophomore finished with a match-high 21 while hitting .356. Sophomore Julia Queiroz hit .500 with 10 kills, while redshirt-junior Rachel Stark has 16 kills on .270 hitting. Freshman Ezgi Ozkan directed the offense with a career-best 55 assists, the second-best single-match performance for a four-set outing by a Redhawk since becoming a Division I-program.
Defensively, junior Tijana Milojevic anchored the backline with a solid 19-dig effort. Ozkan and Queiroz also provided a presence at the net finishing with four blocks a piece, while freshmen Amaris Carter and Lauren McCabe chipped in with three and two blocks respectively. Senior Aly Borje-Bonkowski finished with five digs.
Seattle U finished with a .281 to .274 advantage in hitting. The Redhawks also held favorable margins in kills, 65-54, and digs, 53-45, while the Roadrunners controlled blocking, 10-8 and service aces, 8-4.
The Redhawks will return to the road next week when they visit Chicago State on Thursday and Kansas City on Saturday.
CSU Bakersfield took an early 6-2 lead to open the first thanks in part to a 5-0 run. From there the Redhawks played from behind, twice narrowing the deficit to one at 6-5 and 11-10. CSUB however then pulled away with eight unanswered points, pushing the score to 19-10. Queiroz tallied a late kill and assisted block during a 3-0 spurt as SU closed the gap to six, but the effort was not enough as CSUB took the opening frame, 25-18.
Tried 9-9 in the second, Kerschenbaum halted the back-and-forth cycle with back-to-back kills. Kerschenbaum, Stark and McCabe then recorded consecutive tallies, as the 3-0 spurt pushed the Redhawk advantage to 14-10. The ‘Runners then responded with a 3-0 spurt of their own to pull within one, 14-13. Stark then registered three kills as part of a 5-1 run allowing SU to assume a 19-14 lead. Kerschenbaum then added a trio of kills down the stretch to make it 23-14. CSUB rallied late cutting the margin to the three, 24-21. The door though was slammed by Stark as Seattle U won the second, 25-21, and tied the match with a set apiece.
In the third, the sides traded 3-0 spurts early for a 7-7 tie. A kill from Carter and two more from Kerschenbaum nudged Seattle U out front, 11-9. CSU Bakersfield continued to linger as it pulled within in one at 13-12, 15-14 and 16-15. A costly ‘Runners service error though made it 17-15. Kerschenbaum and Carter then added to the cause down the stretch with consecutive kills, opening the SU advantage to 20-15. CSUB would then trim the margin to three, 20-17, but that was the closest it got as the Redhawk closed out on a 4-1 and went into the break with a 2-1 match lead.
Kills from Stark and Kerschenbaum midway through the fourth gave Seattle U a 13-11 lead. Carter later contributed a kill as part of a 4-1 spurt, helping the Redhawks to a 17-14 advantage. The Roadrunners then began to battle back using a 4-1 spurt to pull at 18-all. Momentum continued to side with CSUB as it then score four-straight and pushed its way to a 22-18 lead. Ozkan served up an ace and timely block from Carr and Carter leveled the score at 22-22. CSUB then eluded match point on four occasions, before putting itself in position to force a fifth at 28-27. Queiroz buried a kill to knot things up, before a CSUB miscue made it 29-28. Kerschenbaum eliminated the ‘Runners’ hopes of a fifth set, as her 21st kill of the afternoon secured the set and match for the Redhawks.