Volleyball defeats conference rival Cal State Fullerton in back and forth match

Courtesy of UCR Athletics

Following a two-game skid that included losses against the University of Pennsylvania (7-2) and Seattle University (9-5), UC Riverside’s women’s volleyball team faced off against Cal State Fullerton (8-6) (CSUF). The match took place in Riverside on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at the SRC Arena where the Highlanders defeated the Titans with a score of 3-1. 

The Highlanders were led by freshman outside hitter Amarachi Osuji who had a career-high 20 kills along with 12 digs. This was Osuji’s third double-double of the season. At this point in the season, Osuji has recorded 84 digs and 153 points, which is good for 9th in the Big West Conference. 

“She (Osuji) has such a high ceiling and physically she is learning a lot about the game and the system. For her to have that kind of night as a freshman, we are just excited to see her keep getting a little bit every day,” Head Coach Michelle Patton-Coleman said. 

Junior outside hitter Ayla Fresenius also recorded a double-double with 15.5 kills and 17 digs. Junior middle blocker Kathleen Lowry contributed 10 kills and four blocks while freshman middle blocker Isabella Scarlett contributed 10 blocks of her own. 

Despite the 3-1 score, the match was closer than the final score indicated. In all four sets, the largest margin between the two sides was two points. There were 25 ties and lead changes in total, with the momentum shifting toward UCR in the final two sets. The Highlanders won three of the four sets while the Titans took the second set 25-23.  

“To start the conference with a win we couldn’t ask for anything more,” Patton-Coleman said. “Then realizing as we go, we just have to take our opportunities to get better.”

Since 1969, UCR has played CSUF a total of 53 times with the Highlanders winning only 20 of those matches. Their last match was in Fullerton on Oct. 6, 2018, where UCR got the 3-0 victory. 

Up next, the Highlanders will be on the road for their next three games. They will face UC Davis (9-5) on Sunday, Sept. 29, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (9-5) on Friday, Oct 4 and UC Santa Barbara (12-1) on Saturday, Oct. 5 before traveling back to Riverside to face Cal State Northridge (5-8) on Thursday, Oct. 10.