Coyote women lose to Concordia in NCAA Division II title game
By Jon D. Gaede, BVN Sports –
SAN BERNARDINO - Last Friday night, the lady volleyball Coyote’s of Cal State University, San Bernardino won their 32nd consecutive game this year. On Saturday night, they lost their first, defeated 3-0 by Concordia of St Paul.
Led by big hitter, two-time national player of the year, Samantha Middleborn, the Coyotes simply dominated their opponents during the 2011 season.
After their undefeated conference season, the Coyotes would host the NCAA Division II Championships at Cassoulis Arena. The march toward the final included a tough semifinal against Hillsdale of Michigan.
In the match on Friday night, the Coyote women found themselves in unfamiliar territory, a 2-1 set deficit to a No. 8 seeded opponent. In front of a raucous loyal home crowd, these girls rallied to win the next two sets, 25-20 and a decisive 15-6.
The Coyote women were seeking the initial national title in any sport, at the university. In that semifinal, Cal State made some mental errors, allowing Hillsdale to run up points. Eventually, with superior athletic play, the Coyotes took what was theirs.
The Coyote women had 72 digs to Hillsdales’s 56 and 15 blocks to the Chargers 6. Samantha Middleborn had 22 kills at the net, while Pricilla Collings and Megan Johnson added 14 each.
Saturday’s highly anticipated match would pit Cal State against Concordia of St. Paul, an opponent who has bested them, five out of six times before. Nearly 3,000 students and local fans showed up for the big final at Cassoulis.
The Concordia Bears, 34-2 on the season, would continue to be the top Coyote nemesis as they spoiled Cal State’s perfect season 3-0.
For Concordia, it was their 5th title in five years. The sets were definitely competitive, the Coyote women were in every set, but the side from Minnesota was too strong in all phases of their game. Concordia takes the NCAA Division II Title 25-20, 31-29 and 25-18.
Samantha Middleborn tried to put things into perspective by illuminating the great season the girls have had and that they have watched this opponent celebrate in front of them, many times before.
Cal State coach Kim Cherniss has built a tremendous volleyball legacy. Approaching the magical 500 victory mark, over 20 years at the helm.
She and her fine Coyote staff will reload for next year and will likely be back to compete for what they feel is theirs, an elusive NCAA title.
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