Julia Crawford photo volleyball

Sophomore outside hitter Julia Crawford (second from right) claimed her 10th double-double against CSU Northridge on Oct. 8. (Marisa Palmerin-Flores / Daily Titan)

Cal State Fullerton’s volleyball team continued to battle it out in Big West conference play over the weekend as they swept UC Irvine and lost to UC San Diego.

The Titans had an exhilarating start to their weekend as they swept UC Irvine 3-0 on Friday night at home. This is the first meeting between the conference rivals this season as they have not faced each other since November 2019, where Fullerton won, 3-1.

The victory moves Fullerton to 3-4 in the Big West and 6-8 overall. The loss put Irvine at 4-3 in the Big West conference and 11-6 overall.

Although Irvine struggled throughout the three sets, Umeh Joy led the Anteaters with 15 kills and Carly Richter led with 11 digs

Titans Nicole Shuhandler, Julia Crawford and Gabrielle Barcelos had an outstanding game as they each had 10 kills. Sophomore setter Elizabeth Schuster led the team with 39 assists and 15 digs. Crawford also had a great game as she recorded her 12th double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs.

In the first set, both teams struggled to break away from each other, as they had a total of four ties before the Titans finally got an 8-7 lead on a UCI service error. Fullerton won the opening set, 25-18.

In the beginning of the second set, Irvine tried to cut into Fullerton’s lead as they made the score 10-7.

However, this was not enough as Fullerton went on an 8-2 run and built a nine-point lead. The Titans ended their dominant set with a kill from junior middle blocker Haley Carmo, which made the final set score 25-15.

Going into the third set, the score remained fairly close as they had a total of 10 ties. However, a kill by Shuhandler broke the fourth tie and made the score 13-12.

Later in the third set, the Anteaters cut the Titan’s lead to 21-20, but they failed to take the lead.

After a nail-biting set, the Titans managed to score four straight points, which led them to victory and won the set, 25-20.

The Titans, unfortunately, could not keep the momentum going into their Saturday match against the UCSD Tritons where Fullerton took a 3-1 loss.

The loss drops Fullerton’s record to 6-9 overall with a 3-5 conference record. San Diego improved to 12-6 and 5-3 in conference.

Consistent defense from both teams allowed for a close 10-8 score in favor of the Titans in set one. Unfortunately, San Diego then went on a five-point scoring run with middle blocker Emily McDaniel at the back line to serve. The Titans came back to get a set point over the Tritons at 24-23 before San Diego stopped them in their tracks and claimed the first set.

The second set went much like the first for the Titans as they had a 15-13 lead halfway throughout, but San Diego’s communication allowed them to come back, 22-20, over the Titans. A final block from San Diego’s opposite hitter Trinity Castaneda allowed for a Triton win in set two.

The Titans did not let up despite the first two sets, kept fighting into the third set and tied the score with San Diego eight times throughout set three. Fullerton managed to add a four-point scoring run with Crawford at the back line, 15-11.

A kill from the Titans’ junior outside hitter Makena Ala’ilima-Daley at set point claimed the third set for Fullerton.

Unfortunately for the Titans, the Tritons would not go down so easy in set four. San Diego’s senior libero Susanna Limb served at the back line for the Triton’s five-point scoring run ending at 17-10 for the Tritons. At set point for San Diego outside hitter Ava McInnes put up a solo block that snatched the win for the Tritons.

For the Titans, Crawford made the leaderboard with 13 kills and added 17 digs for her 13th double-double this season. Meanwhile, junior libero Neena Dimas added a game-high 21 digs against San Diego.

CSUF will enter their ninth conference match of the season against UC Davis on Oct. 22 at Titan Gym.

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