East County Sports

New-look Hawks get opening win

Isabella Marshall drives home a winner on Tuesday. /SDCC HAWKS



ECS staff report

EL CAJON, Calif. – A proven winner while serving at Hawai’i-Hilo, new San Diego Christian College head coach Gene Krieger needed to wait five months before his Hawks women’s volleyball team could take the court, but the wait was worth it.

On Tuesday (Feb. 19), the doors to the COVID-delayed 2020-21 season were finally opened, as SDCC out-lasted visiting University of Saint Katherine of San Marcos in four sets at the Salvation Army gymnasium at the El Cajon Corps center,

Game scorers were 25-15, 19-25,25-21, 25-21.

Placing an entirely revamped roster with 12 new players on the court, Krieger’s troops started fast with a comfortable Set 1 decision, then needed to fight before closing out the Firebirds.

Leading 20-15 in the first, returning SDCC libero Kayli Barrera, a transfer from Grossmont College, took service and secured five straight points to close the set. The senior defensive specialist, who has worn lucky No. 13 throughout her college career, also registered eight digs.

Alexis DeBina-Bautista, an outside hitter from Wai’anae (located just outside of Honolulu on the island of Oahu), fueled the Hawks’ offense with 16 kills.

Meanwhile, freshman right-side hitter Isabella Marshall (San Jose) added 8 kills for SDCC (1-0), while junior outside hitter  Jessica Pinasco (Merced) added 7 put-aways.

After Saint Katherine evened the match, the Firebirds led 15-12 in Set 3, but Marshall regained the momentum with a monster spike over the visitor’s wall. DeBina-Bautista served five straight points to again seize control of the match, featuring an ace, plus kills by Marshall and Aixa Crespo, a junior middle from Louisiana.

NOTES: In his two years leading Hilo’s Vulcans, Krieger went 30-25 on the sidelines and racked up 23 wins against PacWest Conference opponents.  This includes a 21-7 campaign during the 2018 season which featured a UHH squad that went 17-5 in the PacWest and finished tied for third place in the league standings. It was the first time Hilo reached 20 victories since 2009.

He then spent last season as the associate head coach at Concordia Irvine (he was also the head coach of the beach team), before taking over in Santee.

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