Estrada Co-South Coast Conference MVP; Volleyball 6th Seed For Playoffs
It's good times for the state No. 11-ranked Pasadena City College women's volleyball team. The co-South Coast Conference champion Lancers placed five players on the 2012 All-SCC First Team, including sophomore libero Jennifer Estrada being named Co-MVP. The 19-4 Lancers then earned the No. 6 seed of 16 teams at Sunday's regional seeding meeting held at PCC.
Unbeaten in the last 13 matches on their home court at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, the Lancers host No. 11 seed Cypress (9-12) in a 6 p.m. playoff first round match on Tuesday, Nov. 20. On Sept. 10 at the El Camino College Quad Tournament, PCC swept Cypress, 25-19, 25-18, 25-12. In 2010, the teams met in the third round of the regional playoffs with Cypress winning in four sets.
PCC advanced to the regional playoffs for the fifth consecutive season in just the six years that the program has been directed by head coach Tammy Silva.
It was share and share alike for PCC with fellow SCC co-champ El Camino as Silva and Warriors' coach Le Valley Pattison were named Co-SCC Coaches of the Year. Estrada became the first conference libero to ever win the SCC MVP award since the defensive position was introduced for the first time in 2000. Estrada was the co-winner with El Camino middle blocker Nigeria Owens. The only other PCC MVP in conference history was outside hitter Patti Blasco (Vine) in 2009.
Estrada, a 5-foot-7 product of Arcadia High, has had an interesting ride to her current fame. Last season, she took the starting job away from two-year, All-SCC selection Jessica Vargas in the final weeks, playing libero in the team's two playoff matches.
Estrada appeared to be slated as the team's No. 2 outside hitter going into this season. But after several matches, Silva felt the team's defense was hurting and put Estrada back at libero. Despite the change in positions, Estrada made the transition smoothly, averaging 3.95 digs per set this year in the regular season. She added 51 kills in her few matches at hitter, and 28 aces throughout the season. While serve-receive and passing statistics are often not part of the official statistics at the California Community College level, Silva said Estrada rated outstanding overall.
"Marissa Rangel from the 2009 team was as good as it gets as far as an athletic libero, but Estrada is right behind her and is truly an all-around skilled player," Silva said. "Jen probably would have been an All-SCC hitter this year, but she made a sacrifice to do what's best for our team. Then she got rewarded for being the catalyst of our defense. When we moved her back to libero, it changed our team's dynamic."
On the All-SCC First Team, PCC placed four other starters with letterman middle blocker Jackie Valle-Acosta making the elite squad for the second straight season. Middle blocker Megan Callen also made the jump from second team last season. Sophomore setter Kailey Faust and freshman outside hitter Nora To'omalatai rounded out PCC's amazing five overall First Team selections.
Valle-Acosta averaged 2.6 kills per game and 0.89 blocks (tied for the conference lead) and her .442 attack percentage was tops in California. Callen averaged 2.2 kills (hit .390) and 0.76 blocks while Faust led the SCC in assists with a 9.5 average per set along with 1.5 digs and 38 service aces. To'omalatai led the Lancers in kills average at 2.96 to go with a SCC high 39 aces and 1.95 digs.
Making the All-SCC Second Team for PCC were two-time selection and opposite hitter Yanise Joseph (2.13 kills and 0.60 blocks) and sophomore outside hitter Viridiana Gallardo, who was one of five Lancers to average better than 2 kills per game (2.12) and added 2.6 digs plus 26 aces.
"We won our second conference title in four years and that says a lot about how far we've come here at PCC," Silva said. "We have a veteran team this year and I think the experience made a difference during the regular season. We had strengths at pretty much every position as proven by the all-conference team. We hope to go far in the playoffs, but no matter what 2012 will go down as a great season for the program."
If PCC gets by Cypress, the Lancers will either travel to face No. 3 Grossmont or host No. 14 Fullerton in the second round of regionals on Saturday, Nov. 24. The 16-team SoCal playoff bracket is at the following link:
The entire All-South Coast Conference 2012 First and Second Teams are at the next link:
[Photo--Lancer Jennifer Estrada, Co-MVP of the South Coast Conference in 2012.]