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Lost Weekend: Volleyball Loses Pair of 5-Gamers At Pierce Invite

Lost Weekend: Volleyball Loses Pair of 5-Gamers At Pierce Invite image

The Pasadena City College women's volleyball team dropped nine spots in this week's State Top 25 Poll to No. 12 after losing a pair of tough 5-game matches to new No. 3 Bakersfield and No. 11 Golden West at the LA Pierce College Brahma Invitational Sept. 21-22.

The Lancers (6-3) lost three of four matches played last week, including getting swept by state No. 2 Orange Coast on Sept. 19. PCC had a five-match winning streak halted. Pasadena did sweep unranked Santa Monica, 25-18, 25-17, 25-15, to open the Pierce tournament on Friday.

In the first-round SMC victory, frosh outside hitter Nora To'omalatai pounded nine kills and served three aces while freshman reserve outside hitter Thula Parks shined with eight kills in just 11 attempts. Transfer setter Lindsey Kuramato, a member of Pierce's 2011 state champion team, returned to her former college to tally 15 assists with eight digs.

In the semifinals, PCC drowned in a sea of errors v. Bakersfield, but rallied from two sets down to force a fifth game. The Renegades prevailed, 25-19, 25-21, 26-28, 19-25, 15-10. The Lancers totaled 13 attack errors, 10 service errors, a season-worst 12 serve receive errors, and another season-worst 10 block errors. Viridiana Gallardo, a letterman outside hitter, spiked 16 kills and made 11 digs while To'omalatai also knocked down 16 kills and had 11 digs.

Pasadena's rally was a direct result of a change in libero as Lancers head coach Tammy Silva moved sophomore Jennifer Estrada back to the free-substitution defensive spot, a position she played in last year's playoffs, during the third set. Estrada totaled 21 digs and sparked the Lancers with her passing and serve receive. Second-year middle blocker Jackie Valle-Acosta contributed 10 kills (12 attempts) and five blocks. Returning setter Kailey Faust amassed 45 assists.

PCC has developed a recent rivalry with Bakersfield, a team that upset the Lancers in the 2009 playoffs and got swept by the Lancers in last season's Southern California Regionals.

In the third place final later on Saturday, the Lancers blew a 2-1 sets lead and lost to Golden West, 19-25, 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 15-13. PCC held an 8-6 lead in the deciding set but made five unforced errors as a potential victory turned into another disappointing defeat.

To'omalatai (15 kills, 10 digs) and Gallardo (12 kills, 11 digs) each recorded double-doubles while Estrada made 24 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Megan Callen had her season highs with 10 kills and seven blocks (six assisted). Sophomore opposite Yanise Joseph added seven kills and four blocks.

"We faced some great teams, but we had opportunities to win both matches," Silva said. "We have a sophomore-heavy roster and I expect experienced players to play better under adversity. Instead, we lacked poise and when we absolutely had to play our best volleyball, we played poorly. We had a chance to establish a very high regional seed for the postseason. Now, it's going to be tough to re-enter the top 5."

Silva's Lancers will begin a quest to win the South Coast Conference starting on Friday, Sept. 28 when PCC hosts Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Match time is 6 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. The Lancers won their only SCC title in 2009, but are currently ranked ahead of conference rivals Mt. San Antonio (No. 14) and El Camino (No. 16).

[Photo--Viridiana Gallardo impressed at outside hitter for the Lancers during the Pierce Tournament, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]

Release Date: 09/25/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu