The Coyotes (12-5, 6-3) begin the second round of conference play tonight against No. 16 UC San Diego at RIMAC Arena, one of the toughest venues in the conference. “Right now we need a win, any win,” Cherniss said. “We really have to regroup quickly because we’re letting it get away from us. We could use a shot of confidence.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The downward spiral started with a loss to No. 8 Cal Poly Pomona (17-0, 9-0), then continued with losses last week to No. 13 Cal State Los Angeles (16-1, 8-1) and No. 25 Cal State Bakersfield (13-6, 6-3). The Coyotes are in a three-way tie for third. The Coyotes dropped from No. 6 to 11 in the AVCA national poll, but Cherniss acknowledges she thought her team would fall further. More important is the regional poll that has them third, although that poll only comes out every two weeks, so their back-to-back losses have not been accounted for yet. Strength of schedule has helped the Coyotes in the rankings. They have played nine nationally ranked foes, going 4-5. The Coyotes’ defense and serve receive have been the biggest problems. “We had big breakdowns there, and that is something we’re addressing,” Cherniss said. ??That’s a part of the game you have to have to be successful, but it’s one we need because we don’t have that dominant hitter.” Cal State San Bernardino volleyball coach Kim Cherniss finds herself in a position that she has not been in much lately: trying to rally her troop. The Coyotes, once ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation, are floundering, having lost three straight California Collegiate Athletic Association matches. They qualified for the Elite 8 in 2003 and 2004. Now they have to be concerned with qualifying for the Pacific Region tournament. The last time Cal State faltered this badly in conference play was 2000, when the Coyotes went 26-8 overall and 16-6 in the CCAA. Despite the setbacks, Cherniss singled out the play of freshman Traci Weamer, who has a team-high 165 kills, as well as middle blockers Sharea Drawn and Amy Long. When the Coyotes and Tritons squared off at Coussoulis Arena, the Coyotes emerged victorious 3-1 (29-31, 30-24, 30-18, 30-24). 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!