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Ultimate Comeback For Volleyball, Beats SBCC In 5, Advance To Round 3

Ultimate Comeback For Volleyball, Beats SBCC In 5, Advance To Round 3 image

The No. 4-seed Pasadena City College women's volleyball team made a dramatic comeback from down two games to defeat Santa Barbara City College, 17-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 15-13, in a Southern California regional second round playoff match Saturday night before more than 300 fans at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

The Lancers (22-4) beat the No. 5-seeded Vaqueros (21-6) for the third time this season. They next travel to face top seed Cypress College (23-4) in regional third round play on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. In most seasons, the second-round winners advanced to the state final eight tournament. With a format change in the playoff system this year, the CCCAA Championships is now a final four.

PCC hasn't advanced this far since making the state final eight in 1995 when it had its highest placing in its volleyball history in third place. 

Against SBCC in game 1, the Lancers fell behind, 15-5, and never threatened. In game 2, the Vaqueros built their 2-0 lead in a set in which there were 10 ties. PCC led 20-16, but Santa Barbara roared back with an 8-1 run. Two blocks by PCC cut it 24-23, but a booming kill by Jenn Waddill gave the Vaqueros the game 2 win.

The Lancers fell behind, 7-3, in game 3, but a 10-1 run by PCC seemed to energize the squad. A Jessica Foley kill would cap a 10-point win in that set. In game 4, Santa Barbara led by as much as 17-13, but PCC crept back to take its first lead of the set at 21-20 on a SBCC attack error. Aliyyah Abdullah's ace would tie the match at two games a piece.

In the decisive fifth game, PCC again was forced to rally, trailing early 6-3. Markisha Richie's kill gave the Lancers an 8-7 lead. PCC would take the lead for good at 11-10 on a combined block by Richie and Miranda Doing. Doing teamed with Foley for another block at 13-11. SBCC wouldn't quit and got it to 14-13 before Abdullah pounded a kill that capped the set and match.

"It's like we came back from the dead," said PCC Head Coach Tammy Silva said. "Maybe some of the players took them lightly because we had beaten them twice before. But that was a far better Santa Barbara team tonight than the one we faced in September. When we got behind by two games, I told some of our top players to get their act together. They really played with heart over those last three games."

Silva was especially impressed by her two returning sophomores from the South Coast Conference champion team of 2009. 

"Playing in pressure-packed playoff matches last year had some affect on Foley and Doing," she said. "They both looked relaxed and were outstanding at blocking and giving us big kills. Aliyyah just woke up in that fifth game. We needed her to step up and she did when it counted. Danielle Stewart and Kirsten Taylor also stepped up to be leaders tonight. That's where having a corps of sophomores becomes a big plus."

Pasadena tallied a season-high in team blocks with 15 compared to only two by Santa Barbara. While PCC hit .185 for the match, it was a strong .312 during the fourth game. SBCC hit .111 overall after starting out with a .346 in the opening game. Pasadena also served well with 13 aces.

Middle blocker Taylor led PCC with 12 kills, followed by Doing with 11 kills, six blocks and two aces. Abdullah added nine kills, four aces, and five blocks (four solos). Richie and Foley made eight kills each with Foley adding six blocks. Stewart totaled 40 assists, 10 digs, four kills and two aces.

Freshman libero Jessica Vargas contributed 23 digs to give her a current 327 digs for the season, setting a new record for digs in a year by a Lancer. She broke the mark of 322 set by Marissa Rangel in 2008.

For Santa Barbara, Allyson Porter was a force with 20 kills and 16 digs while Antonia Antes added 15 kills. Setter Kelsey Soos delivered 42 assists, 11 digs, and three aces.

PCC now plays a Cypress team that it swept on the season's opening day (Aug. 27) at the Pasadena Quad Tournament. 

"We can't afford to fall behind early against that team," Silva said. "We have to do something we haven't been doing lately, which is to start out strong. If we can establish our offense, we have a shot. Cypress earned its top seed, but we're pretty good for a fourth seed."

[Photo--Aliyyah Abdullah blasts match point by two Santa Barbara defenders as the Lancers won in five games during Round 2 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs Saturday night at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 11/27/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu