San Diego Volleyball Connection Leads a UCLA Rout of Aztecs : Poway’s Boyer, Granite Hills’ Crocker Power No. 5 Bruins to 3-Game Victory
It wasn’t enough that the San Diego State women’s volleyball team had to contend with fifth-ranked UCLA Friday night; it also had to face the Bruins’ San Diego connection.
Setter Ann Boyer, who attended Poway High School, and outside hitter Jenny Crocker, from Granite Hills, were unstoppable most of the night as UCLA routed the Aztecs 15-7, 15-6, 15-6 in the season opener for both teams at Peterson Gym.
Boyer, the lone senior starter, worked effectively considering she is surrounded by underclassmen. UCLA started two freshmen, a sophomore and two juniors.
“The fact that she was voted the team captain by the players is an indication that they are looking to her for leadership,” UCLA Coach Andy Banachowski said.
While the Bruins had Boyer to look to, the Aztecs are still searching for an on-court leader, and it showed against the Bruins.
Despite their youth, the Bruins played very consistently and took advantage of the Aztecs’ weaknesses. UCLA dominated the net, outblocking the Aztecs, 14-3, and controlling the right side attack while the Aztecs struggled.
Crocker, a junior, was playing her first match for the Bruins after red-shirting last season. She was a part-time starter as a freshman and sophomore, had surgery on her calf last September and was out of action until January.
After the match, Crocker had her right shoulder packed in ice but she didn’t seem to mind.
“I feel a lot stronger,” Crocker said. “That year off made me hungry to play.”
It showed. Crocker had 11 kills in 15 attempts and hit a team-leading .667. Crocker also had three aces; her tough serving helped the Bruins score key points.
The Aztecs never challenged. The Bruins led, 10-4, in the first game, 12-3 in Game 2 and 12-4 in Game 3, after the Aztecs scored the first three points.
SDSU never got its offense rolling as Coach Rudy Suwara looked for one of his two setter to take command.
“I thought Erin (Tomblin) was going to do it,” Suwara said. “We wanted to give Melissa (Stokes) a chance too.
“I hope one of them takes over. I need one player to take charge.”
Stokes was the starter last season. Tomblin is battling for the starting job after transferring from U. S. International University.
Tomblin played the first game and part of the second, and Stokes played part of the second and the third.
Suwara was able to find some bright spots.
“I think we’ll have a good year,” Suwara said. “When you see a team play well for moments, it’s a good sign.”
The Aztecs will have to play better to avoid a season like last year’s, when they finished 15-17. It was their first losing record since Suwara’s first year as coach in 1976 (5-10).
“We have to settle some things,” Suwara said. “We have to get someone to play the right side well. We played three people, and none of them did the job. We were hoping that would be a strength.
Dianna Alleman, Sandi Thomsen and Shannon Mathew played on the right for the Aztecs, combining for just two kills and and six errors, hitting a negative .333.
Crocker played the right side most of the match for UCLA and had 11 kills.