LA Pierce Ends SCC Champion Lancers Volleyball Season In 3
Pasadena City College women's volleyball head coach Tammy Silva can only look back at what might have been for this year's Lancers as well as her 2010 team. Both squads were Southern California Regional Playoff finalists. And both missed by one win of making it into the CCCAA State Championships.
The No. 5-seeded Lancers, who have not advanced to the state tourney since 1995 when they finished a school-best third place, would have reached state in the old 8-team, double-elimination format both this season and in 2010 when they lost to Cypress in the third round of regionals. The format changed to a 4-team, double-elimination affair in 2010 due to budget concerns by the CCCAA.
Instead of celebrating a trip to the state tourney after its miraculous 5-set win over No. 4 seed Orange Coast on Nov. 24, PCC instead was forced to face two-time defending state champion Los Angeles Pierce College Tuesday night. Pierce picked up its 63rd consecutive victory in sweeping the Lancers, 25-16, 25-19, 25-18, in the third round regional final. Golden West, Fresno City, and Santa Rosa Junior College also won regional finals.
Pasadena, the South Coast Conference co-champions, had its season cut short at 21-5.
"Ultimately, we would have likely faced Pierce if we were at the state tourney," Silva said. "Still, you get the opportunity to lose one at state and have a shot at the state title. In the regionals, it's win or wait 'till next year. Pierce is an outstanding program with a great coach. The Brahmas play with great confidence and that was evident against us. We just didn't play up to our potential."
Silva also pointed out that the unusual late re-seeding of the regionals affected the fate of the Lancers. PCC had been seeded No. 6 in the original seeding held on Nov. 18, but was moved to No. 5 when the seeding was re-done by regional coaches due to a criteria error on Nov. 19, the day before the playoffs. The one change placed Pasadena in No. 1 seed Pierce's bracket. In the original No. 6 seed, the Lancers appeared to have a better shot at making it to state as they would have likely played against No. 3 Golden West or No. 2 Bakersfield, two teams that PCC went five sets with before losing at the Pierce Invitational Tournament in September.
Against, Pierce, the Lancers looked strong in the opening part of the match, taking a 10-9 lead on a kill by Viridiana Gallardo. At that point, the Brahmas relied on powerful swing of All-American outside hitter Danetta Boykin. The 6-foot-1 Boykin, the MVP at last year's state championships, pounded an incredible 10 kills in the opening set as Pierce ran away with a 1-0 lead.
In set 2, the Lancers led 1-0 after a serving error, and that would end up being their last lead of the night. Pierce controlled all aspects of the match.
"They outblocked us, played better defense, passed better, served much better than we did," Silva said. "Everything we did well against Orange Coast, we did the opposite v. Pierce. We had a great season and the OCC match still is a great victory for our program. We had a close-knit sophomore group and they can look back at winning a conference title and going all three rounds of regionals."
Boykin finished as the only player on either team to reach double digits in kills with 21 (hit .515).
For PCC, Gallardo and All-State middle blocker Jackie Valle-Acosta had eight kills each and setter Kailey Faust dished out 29 assists and made three blocks despite her 5-6 frame.
Pierce (30-0) advances to the CCCAA State Championships on Dec. 1-2 at Fullerton College.
DIGS RECORD FOR ESTRADA
Estrada made seven digs in the match and finished her sophomore season with 348 digs, a new PCC single-season record, breaking the old mark of Jessica Vargas, who had 343 in 2010.
The 2-year PCC playing careers of Estrada, Valle-Acosta, Faust, Gallardo, middle blocker Megan Callen, opposite Yanise Joseph, reserve outside hitter Kassie Jones ended as did the 1-year stints of sophomore transfers Cassandra Delacruz (defensive specialist) and backup setter Lindsey Kuramoto.
[Photo--PCC's Yanise Joseph tries to block Pierce's dynamo hitter Danetta Boykin during the Lancers' loss at the Woodland Hills college Tuesday night, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]