Broncos fall in West Regional final

By Eric Carlstrom

The Broncos’ postseason run got off to a solid start on Thursday
with a 3-0 sweep of Western Oregon at the NCAA West Regional
Championships. The success continued in the semifinals on Friday
with a thrilling five-set win over Cal State Los Angeles. Saturday
the Broncos’ season came to an end Saturday with a three-set loss
to host and top-seeded Cal State San Bernardino in front of nearly
900 rowdy fans.

The Broncos fell into a quick hole against the Cal State San
Bernardino Coyotes in the first set before junior Elizabeth Diaz
put the Broncos on the board trailing 3-1.

A kill from senior Vanessa Williams and an error from the
Coyotes gave the Broncos the lead at 4-3, but the home team
responded with three straight points and stole the lead for good in
the first set.

Strong play from the Coyotes put Cal Poly in a 20-12 hole.

The Broncos managed one last run at 24-15, a kill from Diaz
tightened the gap to 24-18, but the Coyotes closed out the set just
one point later.

Led by Diaz, Williams and senior Anne-Marie Hofmans the Broncos
led for much of the second set, including leads at 7-4, 13-11 and
16-15.

The Coyotes rallied to take the lead 21-18, but back-to-back
blocks from the Broncos brought the game back to a point.

On the very next play, a Coyote kill sailed well deep of the
baseline, but officials ruled that a Bronco player tipped the ball
and awarded Cal State San Bernardino the point to go up 22-20,
rather than 21-21. The Coyotes won the next three points to seal
the second set, 25-20.

The Coyotes pulled away early in the third set, at 9-5, and
never looked back. Cal Poly brought the score to 18-13, but the
Coyotes rallied to win seven of the next eight points, giving the
Broncos 25-18, 25-20, 25-14 defeat.

This was just the fifth team in Cal Poly history to reach the
regional final, and the first since 1997 when the Broncos were
topped by Cal State Bakersfield.

Diaz led both teams with 14 kills and an excellent .444 attack
percentage. Williams added six kills and senior Allie Newman had
five. Defensively, the Broncos were led by sophomore libero Rafaela
Rosa with 14 digs.

The Broncos were out-killed by the Coyotes 31-49 and were held
to an overall attack percentage of just .160. Meanwhile the Coyotes
fired away with a percentage of .298. The Broncos lone advantage
came in blocks: Cal Poly had 8.5 compared to the Coyotes’ 5.5.

On Friday the Broncos jumped out to a quick two-set advantage
over Cal State L.A., only to see the Golden Eagles respond with two
quick sets of its own.

A kill from junior Jasmine Davis and an ace from Diaz put the
Broncos up 4-1 in the fifth and final set, but the Golden Eagles
answered again with three straight points, leveling the match at
4-4.

The Broncos fell behind by scores of 5-6 and 6-8, but wouldn’t
let up as a kill from senior Jenna Young and a block from Newman
powered Cal Poly to a 9-8 advantage.

Another block from Newman gave the Broncos a two-point lead, but
again Cal State L.A. would fire back.

The Broncos fell behind 12-11, but answered with kills from Diaz
and Williams, and won four of the next five points to seal the
match.

Diaz and Williams led the Broncos with 12 kills each, Young
delivered four aces and Davis had 43 assists.

On Thursday, the Broncos cruised past its first round opponent,
No.20 Western Oregon, by scores of 25-19, 25-12, 25-20.

Following the championship game, Hofmans, Williams and Diaz were
recognized as members of the West Regional All-Tournament team.

Hofmans and Davis were recognized on the all-CCAA second team,
while Williams and Young received first-team honors.

Broncos fall in West Regional final

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Broncos fall in West Regional final

Broncos fall in West Regional final

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Broncos fall in West Regional final

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