A run for the ages
capped by CSUSB seventh appearance in the NCAA championships Elite Eight spelt
success for volleyball head coach Kim Cherniss and the Coyotes in 2017. CSUSB,
which finished twenty four and eight overall, secured its 21st season of 20 or
more victories, captured its 13th California Collegiate Athletic
Association title more than any other program and then went on an impressive run during its 18th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. Led by
All-American Lauren Nicholson, the Coyotes entered the West Region as the fourth
seed, ousting Azusa Pacific, unbeaten the nation’s number one team California
Baptist, and Western Washington in impressive style for the program seventh
NCAA West Region title and its first since 2011. Every quality team has its
star, and the Coyotes were no different with Nicholson as outside hitter. The senior
from Upland became CSUSB first consensus All-American in two seasons after a
record-setting final season. She set three school records and her 29 kills
against Chico State on October 27th were the most in a three-set match by any
NCAA student-athlete this season. Nicholson, who was the CCAA and West
Region Player of the Year, also became just the third coyote in school history
to have a thousand kills and a thousand digs in her career impressive in that
she played just three seasons at CSUSB after beginning her career at Portland
State. Coach Cherniss said Nicholson not only
set an example for the team’s underclassmen, but also left an indelible
mark on the volleyball program. The Coyotes finished the season ranked 13th
in the country, their highest final finish in four seasons. And they will have
high aspirations in 2018 ten Coyotes are expected to return, with All-CCAA
honorees junior middle blocker Hailey Jackson and junior setter Jayann DeHoog
leading the way.

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Dennis Veasley

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