The Golden Eagles Start Off Tourney Winning a 5-Set Nail Biter


Photo courtesy by Felisha Carrasco

Julia Azevedo (1) hits the ball over the net on Thursday’s volleyball tournament game against San Francisco State.

Christopher Lazaro, Staff Reporter

On Thursday the Cal State LA volleyball team started the first round of the CCAA tournament in San Bernardino against San Francisco State. The match went all the way to the fifth set, and was an up and down performance for the Eagles. Opposite hitter Julia Azevedo finished with 15 kills, middle blocker Victoria Duarte had 7 blocks, and outside hitter Karla Santos had 25 digs. The team finished the match with 9 aces. 

In the first set the Eagles were off to a good start, as middle blocker Daisy Crenshaw got her first kill of the match. This was followed up by Karla Santos taking advantage of an attack error by the Gators, but only after an attack error by Crenshaw. From that point in the set it was all downhill for the black and gold, as they kept making mistakes. By the end of the first set they had already committed 8 errors. 

Errors weren’t the only issue for the Eagles. The relentless offense and solid defense of the Gators made it difficult for Cal State LA to catch up, and it lost the first set 25-18. 

Cal State LA rebounded in the second set winning 25-19, but narrowly lost the third set 28-26.

However, in the fourth and fifth sets the Eagles finally found their rhythm. At the start of the fourth set setter Shea McGovern took advantage of three straight attack errors from San Francisco State. This was followed up by a service ace by outside hitter Mickayla Sherman. The black and gold took the fourth set easily winning 25-13, notching the match at 2-2.

In the final set, a couple of kills from outside hitter Daisy Portillo saved the Eagles. Cal State LA had a 13-11 lead in the set, but a kill from Gators’ outside hitter Drew Morris cut the deficit to one making it 13-12 in favor of the Eagles. Portillo ended the comeback there with 2 kills ending the set 15-12, and giving the birds a 3-2 victory. 

“We’ve been really practicing hard: swinging, lining, crossing, everything. So we [did] what we did in practice,” said Azevedo.

The Golden Eagles will advance to the semifinal game where they will take on sixth seeded Sonoma State. Head Coach Juan Figueroa said that he’s ready to play a long match against the Seawolves. “I like to say we’re used to long [sets]. We don’t get [nervous] when we are down 2-1. We are comfortable with it, but I like to win in 3 or 4 sets.”     

Figueroa also complimented the Gators on a well played match. “Great game just [what] we were expecting. We have a lot of respect for SF State I take my hat [off to] coach Matt. He’s doing a great job with that program. And I think that they will keep going up and up,” he said.