Hansel Chu, Sports Editor

The UC Riverside women’s volleyball team suffered a loss to Cal State Bakersfield 3-0 in set play. After a win against UC San Diego two weeks ago, the Highlanders have dropped their next two games, ending with a sweep. Although UCR made the game close and intense, they could not pull through to win.

Courtesy of UCR Athletics

In the first set, UCR got the first points on the board thanks to an attack error from the Roadrunners. However, the Highlanders gave the points right back to CSUB with an attack error from senior right-sider Ayanna Kimbrough. Both teams went back and forth, exchanging rallies to begin the first set. UC Riverside was able to extend their lead 7-4 with back-to-back aces from freshman libero Chloe Ruhl. After exchanging a couple of rallies, Cal State Bakersfield started to chip away at the Highlander lead. Senior outsider Hayley McCluskey was able to get a kill and an ace from redshirt freshman outside hitter Lizzie Binder narrowed the set to 11-10. Soon later, McCluskey rallied up three kills in four rallies to give the Roadrunners the lead of 13-14. The Highlanders responded with a run of their own with a couple of kills from Kimbrough to retake the set 18-16. As the first set started to narrow down, UC Riverside was unable to keep up with CSUB. After a kill from McCluskey, Cal State Bakersfield was able to serve up another kill from sophomore right-sider Samia Bhakta to put the score to 22-24 with one more rally to go for the Roadrunners. An attack error from McCluskey closed the score to 23-24, but an attack error from senior outside hitter Mylei Vargas-Deason gave CSUB the win in the first set 23-25. 

UCR jumped out to an early 4-1 lead thanks to back-to-back aces from graduate student setter Tayler Hifo. After a couple of rallies later, an attack error from McCluskey extended the Highlander 6-3. However, the Roadrunners were able to string in a couple of won rallies to tie the set at 6-6 thanks to two kills from redshirt junior middle blocker Hana Makonova. The tide started to turn as Cal State Bakersfield was able to win four straight rallies to take control of the second set 9-12. UC Riverside once again was unable to keep up with Cal State Bakersfield as for every won set for the Highlanders, the Roadrunners would win another two or three more rallies. A service error from Hifo enlarged the deficit even further, 11-16. A couple of kills from junior outside hitter Delaney Tate kept UCR in the game and a kill from Kimbrough brought the score to 15-18. However, the Highlanders once again were not able to keep up with the Roadrunners as CSUB won the next five rallies to put the set out of reach with three straight kills to make the set score 15-23. A kill from Binder gave Cal State Bakersfield the win in the set 17-25 with one more set win to go.

All looked lost in the third set as the Roadrunners jumped out to an early 6-1 lead. Head coach Nicky Cannon had to make a few substitution changes to spur some fire onto the Highlanders. Indeed it did as UCR started to climb back into the set one rally at a time. After a few rallies, UC Riverside won four straight rallies to bring the score to 7-9 thanks to three kills from senior middle blocker Isabella Scarlett. Both teams continued to exchange rallies as the score started to near 25. An attack error from Vargas-Deason brought the score to 13-20 as the match seemed like it was nearing its end. However, the Highlanders would not go down without a fight as they won the next five of six rallies to climb right back into the set, 18-21, thanks to a couple of kills and aces from Vargas-Deason and Scarlett. With the set score at 19-23, UCR goes on another run and won the next three rallies to bring the score to 22-23 due to two straight attack errors from the Roadrunners. A kill from McCluskey brought the score to 22-24 with one more rally win to go, but the Highlanders responded with two straight won rallies to tie the set at 24-24 to force advantage play. Both teams went back and forth and neither team gave up a single inch. A kill from Hifo brought the score to 32-31 in favor of the UCR but McCluskey responded with a kill to tie the set at 32-32. A kill from sophomore outside hitter Ava Palm gave CSUB the advantage 32-33 and an attack error from Vargas-Deason ended the match and gave Cal State Bakersfield the win in the set and the match, 32-35. 

Scarlett led the Highlanders with nine kills and Kimbrough chipped in with seven kills. Hifo also contributed with a game-high 26 assists and 14 digs. However, the chemistry between the Roadrunners was the reason why they were able to get the win as they out-assisted and out-killed the Highlanders 46-32 and 50-35.

The Highlanders drop to 3-12 (1-5) on the season and look to break their losing streak at UC Santa Barbara next Friday, Oct. 14, at 7:00 P.M.