The Cal State San Bernardino volleyball team got off to an impressive start, turning in 3-0 wins over Ashland (Ohio) and Western Washington at the Southern California Classic on Friday.
The win over Western Washington by scores of 25-14, 25-19, 25-23 was of more interest because the Vikings were 21-3 last season and favored to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference despite graduating four starters.
Ashland is coming off a 14-13 season and a fourth place finish in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
Junior Jane Chafeh should emerge as the go-to player, a role filled so well by the now-departed Jessica Granados the last two years. Chafeh had 27 kills, 21 digs and three service aces on the night. Coach Kim Cherniss also got stellar play from senior setter Sara Hoffman (54 assists, five aces, three total blocks) and sophomore middle Samantha Middleborn (19 kills). Sophomore Kelcie Tolan did an admirable job as libero
The Coyotes cruised in the first two games, even though Cherniss made wholesale changes in the second game. She did that in the third as well, which is the only reason it was close. You have to be use these nonconference matches to experiment with your personnel so you know what you have when it really matters.
While the last game was close, I never had the feel that the Coyotes wouldn’t win it.
Saturday they will head back to the Toro Dome at Dominguez Hills to face Alaska-Fairbanks, a team that both Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Los Angeles easily disposed of so it likely will be another 3-0 triumph.