Gator women's volleyball edged out by Cal Poly Pomona in fourth set

Cal Poly Pomona
The Cal Poly Pomona Broncos celebrate after beating SF State at The Swamp in San Francisco on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The Gators lost 3-1. Photo by Andy Sweet / Xpress

Down by seven points and on the brink of elimination, the Gator women’s volleyball team came roaring back against Cal Poly Pomona but were outlasted in the final fourth set Saturday night.

SF State completed the first half of conference with an 8-3 record.

Heading into the second half of conference play, sophomore Jazmine Williams was ready to carry over the team’s early success.

“People underestimate us,” Williams said. “We’re a really good team. When we’re on and fighting, we’re amazing.”

Jumping out to an early lead in the first set, the Gators were supported by Williams’ seven kills. The Broncos rallied in the final moments to snatch the first set and take a 1-0 advantage over the Gators.

Momentum didn’t change until the third set when the Gators were feeling pressure to perform in front of their home crowd as family, friends and students filled the gym with energy and loud claps.

Down 2-0 the Gators came alive after a timeout to even the Broncos and capture the third set 25-19. Proving to be an entertaining match, both teams tied each other 15 times in the fourth set. With the crowd cheering, the Gators rallied back and fourth with the Broncos, but the Gators got edged out 25-21 as Cal Poly Pomona took the victory.

SF State had previously lost to Cal Poly Pomona twice last season and finished tonight with 59 kills — a low .166 attack percentage and nine team blocks.

The Broncos hit 54 kills, accumulated a .210 attack percentage and put up 11 team blocks against the Gators.

Senior Iris Tolenada scored her 11th double double with 44 assists and 18 digs. Williams hit a season best of 16 kills with freshman Meagan Wright knocking down 14.

“It was their defense. They made the little plays and their blocking was amazing this game,” Williams said. “I think they deserve it. I mean, even though I want to win, you can tell they wanted it more.”

Wrapping up the first half of conference play, the Gators were tied with Cal State San Bernardino for first place. After dropping tonight’s game to the Broncos (5-6 conference), the Gators will have to settle for a second place tie with UC San Diego.

Mental preparation is at the top of the list as head coach Michelle Patton talks second half expectations.

“It’s going to get tougher,” Patton said. “We’re still a pretty young team, and we’ll get mature the second time around as well. We got to keep our foot on the pedal when we have the opportunity.”

Next up for the women’s volleyball team will be road games against Cal State Monterey Bay and Cal State East Bay. The Gators will take on the Otters Oct. 19 and the Pioneers Oct. 20. Conference matches will start at 7 p.m.