Usually when you hear the word “sweep” in collegiate women’s volleyball, it implies a certain level of dominance. However, as anyone in attendance at the Friday night NCAA Tournament semi-final game between the Vikings and the California State Polytechnic University Pomona Broncos could tell you, sweeps don’t get much closer than this.
Sam Carver Gymnasium was already rowdy by the first set as the game got off to a competitive start. The Vikings took the first point and proceeded to duke it out with the Broncos. The visiting team battled point-for-point, tying up the score on three occasions, but the Vikings never relinquished the lead and eventually triumphed 25-22.
The second set was even closer. There were five lead changes and nine ties during the set, with the Broncos leading by as many as two points at various stages. However, the Vikings refused to be outdone and pulled ahead to a 21-19 lead on a pair of crafty plays by senior setter Brette Boesel. After that, the Vikings managed to hold on to a slim lead and closed out the set 25-23.
The third and – if you can believe it – closest set was an absolute war. The set saw 17 tie scores and seven lead changes, accounting for more than half of each stat for the entire game. However, the Vikings capitalized on a handful of unforced errors by the Broncos, including three service errors, and finally managed to close out the game 26-24.
This win sets the Vikings up for their fourth consecutive NCAA Regional Finals appearance where they’ll take on the California State San Bernardino Coyotes. The Coyotes won their first two tournament outings by six sets to one and are heading into the match on a ten-game win streak.
The finals will start at 7 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 17, and will be hosted in Carver Gym.
Check out the hard work of the women’s volleyball team in these snapshots from their Friday, Nov. 16 win against Cal State Pomona Broncos.
Photos by Oliver Hamlin