CSUF volleyball was aced 10 times on the way to a three-set loss against UC Santa Barbara in Titan Gym on Saturday.
“I don’t even think it was about not executing the scouting report. I think it was about us focusing on passing better. (UC Santa Barbara) have a lot of float serves that were high and we just didn’t get our feet to the ball,” said Titans head coach Ashley Preston.
Fullerton struggled in serve receive the entire match. In its first two conference games, CSUF had only been aced six times. That number nearly doubled against Santa Barbara.
In the third set, freshman Elizabeth Schryer replaced Neena Dimas at libero. Dimas has started at the position for the last 11 matches. The passing struggles led to the decision but she also wanted to see what Schryer could do, Preston said.
Outside hitter Felicia Marshall said the team needs to pass with more confidence going forward.
“It’s more of a mental thing for us too because focusing is a lot different than actually doing something,” Marshall said.
Preston concurred that the Titans need to focus on the mental aspect of the game.
“What’s happening, I think, is the returners are living too much in the past … Even though they try not to say it, they think about it, whereas the freshmen are just so new, they’re just trying to learn and trying to figure it out,” Preston said.
Setter Makenzi Abelman has been in and out of the lineup the entire season, trading places with senior Nastassja Bowman. Abelman said the position changes with her, and the rest of her teammates are understandable because “you compete every single point for your spot.”
“College sports is all about who’s performing. This is a business and your job is to perform. If you’re not performing, we need someone else to perform,” Abelman said.
Outside hitters Lindsey and Gigi Ruddins controlled the left side for the Gauchos. The sisters combined for 23 kills while committing only four errors.
Marshall and outside hitter Maddie Schneider combined for 21 kills for the Titans. Preston said the plan going into the game was to take advantage of the Gauchos’ right-side blockers because they weren’t as strong as the rest of the team.
This, combined with the poor passing from Fullerton, led to only seven total attempts from its middles, Preston said. Her and Marshall agreed that they don’t think the lack of middle use was a problem.
“If someone is on fire, as long as they’re not getting blocked, I think it’s okay to continue to use them,” Marshall said.
The Titans will take a break from Big West play Tuesday to take on Cal State Bakersfield on the road. Marshall said they are not worried about the rest of the season because they have learned from their recent games.
“I think we know now that we have to work a lot harder to get where we want to be,” Marshall said.