After an intense rally, the highlanders capitalize on a pivitol point.
After an intense rally, the highlanders capitalize on a pivotal point. Bri Chew/HIGHLANDER

UCR volleyball (6-11, 1-4) continued their four-match homestand against UC Santa Barbara (11-7, 2-3) on Friday, Oct. 14 in a match that aired on ESPN3. The Highlanders won the match in four intense sets 25-23, 25-14, 25-27, 25-21. Freshman Mickayla Sherman dominated the net as she finished with a new career-high of 26 kills, tying the team’s season-high record set by Fabiana Rosas. Sherman had only six errors in the match and none in the first set as she hit for a monumental .400 average.

The Highlanders saw big production from more than just Sherman, as four different players, including Sherman, finished with with double-digit digs. Chelsea Doyle and Cristina Maietta finished with 15 digs apiece and Maddie Hubbell totaled 18. The last time the Highlanders managed that kind of production, was September 17 when they won 3-2 at San Francisco State.

The first set of the match set the tone as both teams traded long volleys until a tie at 23. The Gauchos were unable to stave off consecutive kills by Brooke Callahan and Meg Graham as they closed out the set. The Highlanders took their momentum into the second set as the jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead as they finished the set on a five-point rally. Santa Barbara managed to take advantage of a few Highlander errors after a 24-23 score to take the set. In the final set, the blue and gold stormed out to a 5-0 lead and maintained the margin all the way through.

UCR Head Coach Michelle Patton-Coleman asserted this was exactly the way her team was going to win games saying, “We’re not necessarily going to crush people on a consistent basis.” Patton-Coleman believes that her squad is going to have to “capitalize on opportunities late in the game,” in order to win games instead of relying on blowing a team out. She also asserted that the Highlanders need consistent contribution from the whole team, much like on Friday, explaining, “its a total team effort from everyone, even if they don’t touch the floor.” In regards to Sherman’s record-breaking match, she fully expected this kind of play from her explaining, “that’s why she is here, we know she is capable of this kind of play.”

Sherman herself was not even paying attention to her play, explaining “I was just trying to not disappoint my teammates,” as she credited “playing like a team” as the reason they won. She went on to say “we need to bring this intensity every night,” in order to prepare for the quick turnaround on Saturday night against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

The Highlanders dropped their last match of the homestand in straight sets against Cal Poly. UCR continues conference play on Thursday, Oct. 20 at UC Davis.