Broncos lose heartbreaker in first round

By Michael Zavala

Kills rained down and two teams battled until the bitter end as
the volleyball team fought to advance in the Pacific Regional
tournament.

The ultimate result of Cal Poly’s efforts was not what it
desired; but the pride head coach Rosie Wegrich has in the team is
still as big as it’s ever been after she witnessed the heart with
which the Broncos fought in defeat.

Cal Poly (21-7) lost to Cal State L.A. in the opening round of
Regionals Thursday, 3-2 (28-30, 30-26, 30-22, 32-34, 19-17).

“I’m very pleased with the effort the girls gave,” said Wegrich.
“To go to the playoffs from not making it in [2006] and coming from
[eighth] in the [California Collegiate Athletic Association] …
there was real growth in this team.”

Junior Jenna Young led Cal Poly with 15 kills. Senior Antoinette
Kathol had 14 kills and seven block assists, and junior Vanessa
Williams had 11 kills and seven blocks.

In the first game, Cal Poly fought hard to take the win. Junior
Allie Newman had five block assists in the game, while Williams and
Young had four kills each.

But that momentum didn’t carry over into the second game. After
a 12-12 tie, the Golden Eagles took over with a 3-0 run that gave
them enough of a cushion to hold off the Broncos and earn the
win.

The third game wasn’t as close. Cal Poly led only once, at 2-1,
and fell victim to an early 9-0 run from L.A. The Golden Eagles
built their lead to as much as 12, 27-15, before they took home the
eight-point victory.

“We were down really bad in game two and game three,” said
Wegrich. “But we fought back in the fourth game.”

Game four was another struggle for both teams. L.A. led late,
23-22, but Cal Poly then began its comeback.

A kill by Young gave the Broncos a 25-24 lead, which it built
upon following a Young service ace, a Golden Eagle attack error and
a kill from Newman. L.A. didn’t give in so easily, though, and it
went on tie four more times until the game stood at 32-32.

With the Broncos’ season on the line, Young came through with
two straight kills to give them the game four win and keep their
hopes alive.

“We won games one and four in close, tight, competitive games,”
said Wegrich. “We really did compete quite intensely.”

Cal Poly trailed late in the fifth game, 13-9, before digging in
and rallying once more with four straight points, including a kill
from Kathol. The Broncos and the Golden Eagles traded points until
the Broncos took the lead, 16-15. But Cal Poly couldn’t secure the
deciding point and the game was tied again.

“The lead changed about three or four times, and we were right
in there,” said Wegrich. “When L.A. got that point [at 16-15], I
said, ‘I really wish we could’ve gotten that point.'”

The Broncos led again, 17-16, but they were unable to put the
game away, and the Golden Eagles took the match by scoring the
game’s final three points.

The loss hit Cal Poly hard. Still, Wegrich saw a lot in the fire
the Broncos showed this year.

“The whole picture for me is that I’m proud of the team’s
comeback,” said Wegrich. “That gives me a lot of belief for the
future of Cal Poly volleyball.”

Wegrich also knows that as the Broncos head toward the future,
they must say goodbye to the past.

“For Brittany Harkey and [Antoinette] Kathol, it’s the end,”
said Wegrich. “They made their mark, and we’ll miss them.”

Broncos lose heartbreaker in first round

Michael Zavala/PolyPost

Broncos lose heartbreaker in first round

Broncos lose heartbreaker in first round

Michael Zavala/PolyPost

Broncos lose heartbreaker in first round

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