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Playoff Atmosphere As Women's Volleyball Takes 2nd At Pierce Tourney

Playoff Atmosphere As Women's Volleyball Takes 2nd At Pierce Tourney image

Playing in two epic, five-game matches on Saturday, the Pasadena City College women's volleyball team drove away from the LA Pierce Brahma Invitational with a second place finish. The state's No. 5-ranked Lancers had their five-match winning streak snapped and lost to host LA Pierce in the tourney's championship final, 25-22, 22-25, 27-29, 25-19, 15-11.

PCC is 8-2 this year with both losses coming against No. 4-rated Pierce. 

In the title match, the Lancers led 2-1 in games, but an injury to outside hitter Markisha Richie prevented her from playing the final two games as Pierce outlasted the Lancers. In the fifth game, PCC fell behind 6-1, and could not come back.

Against the Brahmas, sophomore outside hitter Aliyyah Abdullah slammed down 20 kills while transfer middle blocker Kirsten Taylor added 14 kills (.591 hitting percentage) and four blocks. Freshman outside hitter Ella Moe had 10 kills. Sophomore setter Danielle Stewart tallied 41 assists, 10 digs and four kills while new libero Jessica Vargas contributed 25 digs.

PCC advanced to the finals by rallying to defeat 18th-ranked Santa Barbara City College, 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-4. The Lancers jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the decisive fifth game. Against the Vaqueros, Abdullah was dominant with 22 kills in just 30 attempts (.600 attack percentage) and Richie added 15 kills. Stewart set her season high of 49 assists and Vargas soared defensively with 25 digs. Another highlight was the play of freshman defensive specialist Mallorie Hopkins, who served five aces and added 11 digs.

"This team has tremendous drive, and unlike last year's team, we can handle adversity," said PCC Head Coach Tammy Silva. "I don't know what else we could do in that Pierce match. Pierce is the best team in the state right now, and yet we somehow got ahead of them. We were sort of a walking wounded with Richie out and two girls playing either hurt or ill. I really feel good about our chances to make it to the state tournament this year. I'm excited about our potential."

On Friday, PCC opened the eight-team tourney with a sweep over Santa Monica, 25-22, 25-18, 25-12. Richie led the way with 13 kills and Moe had 11 kills and 12 digs. PCC served a season-best 13 aces as Hopkins had four and Abdullah three. 

Abdullah, who is a returning player from three seasons ago on Silva's first PCC-coached team, finished the tournament with 48 kills.

"She has completely matured as a volleyball player," Silva said. "It's taken her quite a lot of mental strength and hard work to get herself back into college action. I'm impressed that she has become a go-to player. She can leap right out of the gym while being able to be consistent on attacks. We faced maybe the state's best player in Sarah Martin (Pierce) and Aliyyah traded hit for hit with her."

Abdullah and Stewart were selected to the All-LA Pierce Tournament team.

Pasadena will open defense of its South Coast Conference title by hosting Mt. San Antonio College Friday, October 1. Match time is 6 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

[Photo--Aliyyah Abdullah (10) in action during a recent match for the Pasadena City College women's volleyball team, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 09/27/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
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