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Women's Volleyball Stays Alive With 5-Game Playoff Marathon Over AVC

Women's Volleyball Stays Alive With 5-Game Playoff Marathon Over AVC image

One curse about being a top seed in a playoff tournament is that the No. 1 team is automatically a target for every opponent. Ask El Camino College when in 2005 as a top seed it was upset by bottom seed Cypress. 

The state's No. 2-ranked Pasadena City College women's volleyball team nearly followed that path in the first round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs Tuesday night, but the Lancers ultimately didn't let unranked and No. 16 South seed Antelope Valley College end their glorious 2009 season. PCC pulled out a thriller over the underdog Marauders, 25-12, 19-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-8, in front of an estimated 300 fans at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

The Lancers now host No. 8 seed Bakersfield, a 5-game winner itself over No. 9 Riverside, on Saturday, November 28. Match time will be either 6 or 7 p.m. and will be decided by the coaches by Wednesday night, then posted on this website.

The South Coast Conference champion Lancers (23-1) played just their second 5-gamer of the season in stretching their school-record winning streak to 22 straight matches. Antelope Valley, the Foothill Conference champions, made a case to be ranked in the final poll with a spirited effort as its season ended at 14-5. AVC's 11-match win streak also was stopped.

PCC hit .440 in the opening game and seemed to be on its way to another sweep (it had a state-best 19 sweeps coming into the contest). Instead, AVC stormed to a win in game 2, snapping a Lancers' streak of winning their last 28 consecutive games.

After PCC took a 2-1 games lead, again the Marauders battled back, mounting a 5-0 run to break a 20-20 tie and steal the fourth game. Ashley Robinson slammed down one of her team-high 12 kills to cap the game.

Pasadena looked to conference MVP Patti Blasco in the fifth game and she did not disappoint. Blasco, from Monterrey, Mexico, recorded five kills in the decisive game, including three in a stretch that gave PCC an early 6-4 lead. The Lancers maintained the advantage and clinched the match, 15-8, on an AVC attack error.

Blasco finished with a match-high 23 kills to go with 14 digs. No other Lancer had double-digits in kills.

Sophomore libero Marissa Rangel tallied 16 digs, but was slightly upstaged by Antelope Valley's libero Kahli Remy, who had 21 digs. Remy's position change to libero from outside hitter early in the season helped turn AVC from a struggling 3-4 team into a formidable squad during Foothill Conference play.

Frosh middle blocker Miranda Doing was solid with 8 kills and a team-high 5 blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Holmes added 9 kills and 4 aces. Setter Jessica Xu recorded 37 assists to go with 3 kills and 3 blocks.

In winning the first game, the Lancers stopped a 23-game streak by the Marauders.

PCC Head Coach Tammy Silva won her 50th career match as Lancers coach (three seasons) and improved her overall record to 105-47.

The Lancers are one step away from reaching their first CCCAA Championship Tournament appearance since 1995 when they finished a school-record best third place. This year's tourney will be played at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton December 4-6. PCC hosted last year's tournament.

[Photo--Patti Blasco goes up for the attack during PCC's 5-game win over Antelope Valley in the first round of the SoCal Playoffs Tuesday night at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 11/24/09
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu