News: Volleyball Upsets State No. 15 Ranked Cypress in 5-Game Thriller
Thula Parks and Nora To'omalatai were members of last year's Pasadena City College women's volleyball team, a squad that shared the South Coast Conference title and reached the third round of the South Region playoffs. So like successful returning sophomores often do, they seized the moment when their team faced its toughest challenge.
The pair put on an offensive and defensive clinic to rally the unranked Lancers from two games down to defeat state No. 15-ranked Cypress, 25-27, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12, 16-14, at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium Wednesday night.
Parks pounded 25 kills and made 22 digs while To'omalatai nearly matched her with 25 kills and 21 digs (plus three aces) as PCC improved to 1-4. After the tough break when the team forfeited two opening-day wins due to a CCCAA by-law infraction, interim head coach Bill Sanchez can now enjoy his first "official" win in collegiate volleyball.
"Nora and Thula plugged away and do what they do," Sanchez said. "Our whole rotation hustled and didn't get down after mistakes. It's funny, we probably should have won all five sets, but you only need three to win. It was a great comeback and a big boost to team morale. Freshman middle blocker Kendra Logan made a huge difference too."
In the fifth set, PCC and Cypress (4-3 record) traded points and PCC led 14-12, but the Chargers would knot it at 14. Parks landed her sixth kill of the set for match point. Over the final three games, To'omalatai recorded 18 of her kills in just 27 attempts with only one error.
The Lancers led 15-11 in game 1 and 13-6 in game 2 only to lose them both. However, PCC bounced back strong. In games 4 and 5, the team's hitting percentage was .455 and .458, respectively.
Logan proved to be a force at the net as she finished with nine kills and six blocks (two solos). Sophomore setter Tiffany Roesler was busy with 63 assists and 12 digs. Freshman libero Saige Spence added 16 digs.
PCC beat Cypress less than a week after losing to the Chargers in four games at the El Camino College Classic tournament.
To'omalatai is seventh in the state in kills per game average among qualified players at 4.38 per set.
PCC faces another top-ranked team in Orange Coast College Friday in a rare 3 p.m. afternoon start at Hutto-Patterson Gym. OCC is rated No. 11 in this week's State Top 25. PCC rallied to defeat the Pirates last year in a five-game victory in the second round of regionals.
[Photo--Nora To'omalatai attempts to put the ball past a Cypress blocking wall during the Lancers' 5-game win Wednesday in PCC's home opener, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 09/19/2013