Wildcats Bow Out Of Regional To Top-Ranked Coyotes
Central Washington's Bridgette Webb finished with 10 kills in the final match of her career. Photo by Joshua Ocampo.
Central Washington's Bridgette Webb finished with 10 kills in the final match of her career. Photo by Joshua Ocampo.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – An upset was not in the cards for Central Washington Thursday night as the No. 8 seed Wildcats fell in straight sets to No. 1 seed and No. 1 nationally-ranked Cal State San Bernardino, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II West Regional Championship at The Den on the Cal State San Bernardino campus.

The Wildcats held as much as a five-point in the opening set, but could not recover as the Coyotes regained their composure for a valiant run to end the set. Central held small leads at points in both the second and third sets and finished the night with a .087 hitting percentage.

Freshman outside hitter Ashley Kaufman led the Wildcats with 11 kills and eight digs while senior outside hitter Bridgette Webb finished with 10 kills. Senior libero Kyla Morgan ended her career with 10 digs.

Alexis Cardoza, the consensus West Region Player of the Year, led Cal State San Bernardino with 15 kills, eight digs and a .412 hitting percentage. Stephanie Doak added eight kills while Lydia Morohunfola came up with six blocks.

Central Washington ends the season with an 18-11 record. Cal State San Bernardino (28-0) will face No. 4 seed Alaska Anchorage in the semifinals on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

In the early going, Central Washington certainly looked as if an upset was in the making. The Wildcats opened up an 8-5 first-set lead on Webb’s first kill of the night and went on to extend the advantage to 14-8 on senior setter Gabrielle Aihara’s service ace. The Coyotes closed the lead to 17-14 before outscoring the Wildcats 11-2 the rest of the set. Doak’s kill gave CSUSB the lead for good at 19-18 and a block by Moira Murphy and Jalyn Hayes made it 24-18 en route to the 25-19 victory.

The second set was close until late. Central pulled out to the early 5-4 advantage on Webb’s kill, but a run of seven points on the next nine rallies, culminating on a block by Hayes and Murphy, built the Coyotes their own 10-6 lead. The Wildcats tied it at 15-15 on freshman outside hitter Isabella Jacob’s service ace and took the lead on a Kaufman kill, but CSUSB would close by winning 10 of the final 13 points for the 25-19 win.

Central Washington led only on the first point of the third set, but succeeded in keeping things close from start to finish. The Wildcats tied the set on two occasions, the last when a service error made it 8-8. Central Was down by five points before eventually closing to within 21-20 on a Coyotes’ attack error. Cardoza, however, had three kills on the final five rallies to close it out in the home team’s favor.