SAN BERNARDINO — California women’s volleyball coach in San Bernardino, Kim Chernes, said she thinks she can keep her emotions in check Saturday. Not a chance. Not on this night.
An unforgettable night that started even before the Saturday game started. Cal State San Bernardino has officially revealed the program’s 2019 NCAA Division II National Championship crest at the rafters at Coussoulis Arena, as players from this undefeated team received their championship rings. The concert was postponed for more than a year as the 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chernes, who is in charge of the program in her 31st season, spoke to the crowd that included many of her former players, alumni, college administrators and supporters.
“Thank you for your loyalty and support over the years,” Chernes said. “We’ve been very close, many times before…this party tonight has been coming for a long time.”
Chernes then introduced California’s San Bernardino president, Thomas de Morales, who was honored by dropping the veil on the team’s first national championship banner in college history.
If Cherniss thinks emotional moments have passed with those festivities, she’s wrong.
There was still a match to play on homecoming night. Cal State San Bernardino got off to a fast start and finished strong to defeat Cal Poly Pomona 25-13, 12-25, 25-17, 25-16 to complete a sweep of the Broncos on and inside. It was the program’s 36th consecutive win in a California Athletics Association play, as well as its 62nd consecutive home win.
When the crowd began to leave, it was soon announced that this victory was the 700th in Chernes’s career.
Messages from current and former players, coaches, and old fans were played onto the video board. Cherniss collapsed, tears streaming down her face with each message. At one point, the team came to her side for support, and longtime assistant coach Danny Scott brought Cherniss wipes to wipe the tears.
“Knowing her as a coach, she had no idea what the 700 was,” said Kim Morohonfola, the 2009 NCAA Division I MVP in her video message. Cherniss seemed to nod in agreement.
The last letters were from Cherness’s daughter (Jordan), father (Lloyd Holder) and husband (Pete).
Cherniss was then awarded the Volleyball Gold Cup to celebrate the historic victory.
Cal State San Bernardino (15-3, 10-0 in CCAA) got off to a fast start, using a 15-3 inning to gain control of the first set. Marley Nonley spread the ball to her attackers, with Alexis Cardoza, Asia Clarke and Melissa Garciglia making four kills on the set, while Galen Hayes added three more kills. Cal Poly Pomona struggled offensively early and had more fouls (eight) than kills (six) in the first set.
Cal Poly Pomona (14-3, 7-3) immediately overturned the script in the second set, as the Broncos raced to a 15-4 lead. Jazminn Parrish got off a slow start and scored six kills in 10 flips during the set. Cal State San Bernardino had only seven kills in the group.
Cal Poly Pomona had his sights set on ending those aforementioned streaks when he snatched a 13-8 lead in the third set, but Cal State San Bernardino responded 8-0 to lead. Cardoza, this year’s Division II Player of the Year, was killed twice in that stretch, and Hayes along with Cardoza and Marley Nonley for three blocks of the stuff.
Cardoza was calm during the second set. Blockers Cal Poly Pomona received touches for her shots down the line and Broncos Libero Bryn Sherbert drilled several Cardoza cross attacks. Cardoza started hitting sharper corners and finished with seven kills during the third set.
Cal State San Bernardino used 12-3 to advance into the fourth set. Cardoza was killed three times at this stretch, and Jayden Chornomode came off the bench and served three aces.
Cardoza finished high in the match with 17 kills and 18 holes. Clark scored a double, as well, with 12 kills and 11 holes. Hayes finished with 10 kills, three singles blocks and seven passes per block. Garciglia added 10 kills for the Coyotes, and Nunley had 47 passes and nine holes.
Parish led Cal Poly Pomona with 12 kills. Jaymyn Wheeler had eight kills and 12 digs, and Daisy Duke added eight kills and four passes per block. Kyra Zimmerman finished 26 assists and 14 holes, while Sherpier also scored 14 holes and 4 aces for the Broncos.