PCC Volleyball Captures Co-SCC Championship, Takes Mt. SAC in 4
The state No. 11-ranked Pasadena City College women's volleyball team used a powerful hitting attack in the opening two sets, then relied on defense and passing in rallying in the fourth set to become South Coast Conference co-champions with a 4-game victory over No. 18 Mt. San Antonio, 25-15, 25-15, 21-25, 26-24, Wednesday night at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. The Lancers won their second conference title in four seasons under their sixth-year head coach Tammy Silva after never before winning a title in the sport.
PCC (19-4 overall) shares the SCC title with No. 13 El Camino College, winners of now three straight conference crowns. Both teams closed out conference play with 13-1 records, splitting their matches v. each other.
Setter Kailey Faust recorded her PCC career high with 49 assists, including 30 in the first two sets alone. The 5-foot-6 sophomore (from St. Lucy's Priory in Glendora) added eight digs, three aces and four kills on dump plays as she continues to take charge as the team's quarterback.
In the fourth set, PCC fell behind 22-19, then faced set point, trailing 24-23. Instead of being pushed to a fifth game, the Lancers charged to victory on a combined block by Megan Callen and Nora To'omalatai, a nifty ace by Viridiana Gallardo, and Callen's kill on an overpass to clinch set, match, and conference title.
"Defense and passing makes our offense," Callen said on why the team attacked so well in the opening two sets. "We just finish off the kills. When we've played well, it's because of defense and passing."
The Lancers hit a remarkable .516 in the first set (17 kills) and then topped it with a .517 in game two as they only had two attack errors over two games. Silva said removing her starting lineup changed the momentum to Mt. SAC.
"It was sophomore night and I wanted to get our reserves some playing time, but the lineup changes just got us out of our groove," Silva said. "In the fourth set, Mt. SAC was riding the momentum and we took it back at the end. No way we wanted to go five sets. The starters wanted it, wanted that title. It's nice to win another one and in front of the home fans."
Overall, Callen pounded 15 kills, including six in the fourth set. She added three assisted blocks. To'omalatai also knocked down 15 kills while Jackie Valle-Acosta slammed 10 kills and had four blocks, including three solos. Libero Jennifer Estrada added 21 digs and Gallardo contributed eight kills and 16 digs. Opposite Yanise Joseph tallied nine kills. Defensive specialist Cassandra Delacruz came up big in the fourth set on defense with six of her eight digs. To'omalatai and Briana Hilton (two aces) are the only freshman in the regular rotation.
"We're obviously looking forward to the regional playoffs, but the girls have a right to celebrate this title for now," Silva said. "It was a lot of hard work, hard practices. I said early on when I got the job here that we were going to be a top program. Two titles in four years makes me feel good about how far the program has come."
PCC hit .342, but three players attacked at a .400 or better clip in Callen (.467), To'omalatai (.438) and Joseph (.421).
The Lancers will learn their playoff seeding this weekend, and their first round playoff opponent will be announced on this website some time on Sunday. PCC is 10-0 at home this season and a 13-match home win streak dating back to last year.
[Photo--Megan Callen (far left) celebrates match point with teammates from left to right--Kailey Faust, Briana Hilton, Nora To'omalatai, Jennifer Estrada, and Viridiana Gallardo--as the Lancers captured the SCC title Wednesday night, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]