The No. 2 Cal State San Bernardino women’s volleyball team improved to 3-0, easily disposing of Alaska-Fairbanks this afternoon at Cal State Dominguez Hills. It wasn’t as close as the 25-17, 27-25, 25-19 would seem to indicate as coach Kim Cherniss used all her players once she established a lead.
Sure it would have been nice to be playing in Hawaii as the Coyotes had planned but budget restrictions prevented them from going to an event there. It was nice of event organizers at Cal Poly Pomona to make room for them in this event close to home so they could get some matches in.
Coaches have to find a balance between experimenting with their lineups and playing to win. While conference games are more important, it is these that establish a pecking order and gives one school an edge over another when regional rankings are compiled.
Western Washington learned the hard way. The Vikings didn’t make the regional playoffs last season despite finishing 21-3, placing second in their conference and having a national ranking. That was solely because their poor nonconference schedule.
So they remedied that this year, making the trip to California and playing San Bernardino and Cal State Los Angeles, top tier teams in the CCAA. And they did so even though they’re rebuilding. If they don’t make the regional, strength of schedule won’t be the issue.
Seattle Pacific doesn’t get it though. Sure it played a reloading Cal Poly Pomona. But it bucked the chance to play the Coyotes, something it may regret later. First off, what better time to possibly upset the Coyotes than early.
Second, you have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t win it helps your strength of schedule. And if you happen to pull it out, that’s a real bonus. It’s a huge win over a regional foe that will garner you national attention and give you instant credability.
It would also help to play a quality team now that you very well could see down the line in the postseason. And the GNAC isn’t the most competitive when it comes to volleyball so it should have seized the chance to play the Coyotes.