No. 12 Women's Volleyball Sweeps No. 5 SD Mesa In Round 1 Shocker
The Pasadena City College women's volleyball team figured out how to channel its frustration from losing the South Coast Conference title last week. On Tuesday night, the Lancers, seeded No. 12, traveled to San Diego Mesa to take on the state's No. 5-ranked and region No. 5 seeded Olympians. The bus ride and its formidable playoff opponent did little to faze a PCC team that badly wanted to rebound.
Pasadena performed some redemption in sweeping Mesa, 25-16, 26-24, 31-29, in the first round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs. The Lancers (15-9) now will visit No. 4 seed Santa Barbara City College, a 4-set winner over No. 13 Citrus, in a second round playoff on Saturday, Nov. 30. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. (note time is updated, 11/27, 8:30 am)
PCC came out flying behind the play of sophomore outside hitter Thula Parks, who scored eight kills in the first set win. Parks, who had a forgettable stretch v. El Camino when she made six straight attack errors, was on fire this match. She overshadowed her more heralded teammate and All-Southern California Region selection Nora To'omalatai by scoring 11 kills overall and adding 14 digs. The Lancers hit an outstanding .357 in the opening game on 17 kills.
In the second set, Mesa nearly evened the match at 1-1, but a controversial officials' overturn on an apparent kill by the Olympians made a 24-22 lead into a tie at 23-23. It was ruled that Bethany Nosko's attempt was outside of the net antenna and thus a PCC point. Parks would fight off a set point, tying it at 24-24 with a kill. A kill by middle blocker Angela Baneulos gave the Lancers the set and a 2-0 games lead.
In a marathon third set, PCC went ahead 24-20, but Mesa wouldn't quit, reeling off five straight points. Lancers right side hitter Briana Hilton knocked down a kill that began a series of ties at 25-25. Six ties would take place, the last at 29-29. To'omalatai slammed a kill for the Lancers lead and an attack error ended the Lancers' sweep.
To'omalatai was huge on defense where she led the Lancers with 16 digs and she added 11 kills and three aces. Banuelos contributed four aces, Hilton had seven kills and nine digs, while setter Tiffany Roesler made 34 assists and three aces. Libero Victoria Arreola added 13 digs.
For Mesa, Nosko led all hitters with 17 kills while Bre Bissell added 12 kills and 14 digs.
"Thula saved her best match of the season for tonight," said PCC interim head coach Bill Sanchez. "We came down here with all the pressure on Mesa. We had very little defense in the El Camino match, but we played some of our best defense especially in establishing ourselves in the opening set. I'm so proud of our kids because they wanted the season to continue and they got their wish by playing hard all three sets."
The Lancers are the first No. 12 seed since Butte in 1999 to win against a No. 5 seed in the opening round of regionals.
PCC's next opponent Santa Barbara is a team that the Lancers defeated in three sets in last year's postseason and won in five games in the 2010 playoffs, both at PCC. Earlier this season, the Lancers were swept by the Vaqueros, 28-26, 25-16, 25-14, at the El Camino Quad Tournament.
[Photo--At match point, the excitement exhibited by Lancers setter Tiffany Roesler (far left) and the rest of her teammates is shown here as PCC completed a shocking sweep at San Diego Mesa College Tuesday, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]