Wildcats battle Pioneers in five set victory


Chico State’s Brooke Ono sets a pass during the match against Cal State East Bay. Oct. 1, 2019 Photo credit: Matthew Ferreira

Chico State’s volleyball team took on California State University, East Bay at Acker Gym Thursday, in a thrilling overtime match.

The Wildcats went into Thursday’s match with a strong 3-1 record and were looking to improve on that record after sweeping East Bay earlier in the season.

The first set of the game went in favor of Chico State as they scored fast to build a seven point lead midway through the set.

The team was able to pull even farther away from the Pioneers and took the first frame with a score of 25-16.

Despite finding some early success, the second and third sets didn’t go as smooth for Chico. The beginning of the second set was tightly competitive with neither team able to pull away, until East Bay went on a 6-1 scoring run to bring the score to 16-12.

The Wildcats nearly came back tying the game at 23. But the Pioneers powered through and scored the final two points of the frame winning 25-23.

East Bay’s momentum carried onto the third set, as they put Chico in an early 4-1 deficit. The teams went back and forth and the Pioneers struggled to hold onto the lead, until they went on yet another late set run.

This time it was an 8-2 run which gave them a 20-14 lead which proved insurmountable for the Wildcats, as East Bay took the set 25-20.

“I think that East Bay just wanted to come out and try to take our confidence that comes with playing at Acker Gym,” said right side hitter Kelly Jacome.

The Pioneers’ 2-1 series lead meant that Chico had to win the fourth set if there was any hope for overtime.

Chico State's Mikeila Banda serves the ball during the match against Cal State East Bay.
Oct. 1, 2019 Photo credit: Matthew Ferreira

The Wildcats came out scoring early and jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

“I think that it was an energy thing we came out more fired up and with more intensity, and we let that energy carry over and affected our play positively,” said libero Brooke Fogel.

Chico’s energy helped them take an 18-9 lead in the fourth set. They stayed in control, winning the set 25-18 and forcing a fifth and final set.

“Going into the overtime set we just wanted to play our style of volleyball, play hard and relentless with lots of energy,” said middle blocker Kim Wright.

The overtime set was as competitive as it could be. The teams stayed neck and neck throughout the set, but Chico State took a 13-10 lead.

The Pioneers put up a fight tying the set at 13. The Wildcats responded by scoring the final two points after a kill by Gretta Kirkby and the game winner from Wright..

Chico State will look to continue their success Friday at 7 p.m. against Sonoma State at Acker Gym.

Matthew Ferreira can be reached at [email protected] or @MattFerreira__ on Twitter.