By Daniel Torres / Asst. Sports Editor
By Daniel Torres / Asst. Sports Editor
On Oct. 28 the Riverside City College volleyball team went head-to-head against the Irvine Valley Lasers, one of the top ranked schools in California. Irvine proved why they are one of the best when they bested RCC in three straight sets 28-26, 25-14, 25-21.
It wasn’t so much of an Irvine victory but more of an RCC loss as defense, carelessness and poor communication handed Irvine the win. Their offensive play was brilliant, but offense doesn’t win games, defense does.
Diminutive errors like someone not calling for a ball, leaving the rest of the team to figure out who will get it while the ball hits the ground untouched, are errors that plagued the team constantly that night.
While these errors might seem minuscule, they can have an enormous effect on the game. Not only do these points add up and become costly in close games, but simple defensive maneuvers like these can change the game around.
A small lift of the ball can easily get it over and start up a new rally, leaving the team motivated and ready to play defense. It can also do damage to the opposing team, not being able to convert a point can make a player lose their confidence very quickly.
The women’s volleyball team was on the wrong side of these scenarios that night, and they knew it the whole time.
Brittney Diffini, the team’s setter, summed it up clearly when she said she felt “frustrated,” after the game.
“I feel that we, as a team, only played half heartedly. We were playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” Diffini said.
Frustration is exactly what they should have felt after they loss game one being up 24-18 at one time. All they needed was one more point to win the first game and they let that slip away with these simple errors. The next thing you know, the Lasers rally back leaving the team, coach Monica Trainer and the fans all bewildered.
“We needed to finish but I guess we just got a bit too comfortable,” Diffini said.
Trainer said she felt disappointed with the way the first game went and that the team just needed to get their confidence back up.
Their confidence must have taken a trip to the snack bar because RCC was fiercely taken advantage of in the second game, going down 25-14. Most of the points RCC scored in the second game were mainly because of Irvine mishaps.
Irvine came out tough during the second game swinging intensely at every ball that came their way. It was obvious that the power hitting and kills were too much for RCC to handle in the second game.
Trainer made some rotational changes to begin the third game and it showed right from the start when RCC got a quick 9-4 lead.
“They can do some things better than us, we just had to figure out what we could do better than them,” said Trainer.
Irvine adjusted to RCC’s rotation and the game became a neck-to-neck battle. The poor defense that haunted them in the first two games came back to strike once more as RCC let this one slip away as well 25-21.
The game was over, the teams shook hands, Irvine celebrated and RCC walked into the locker rooms with their heads down in defeat.
What makes a team good though, even in the hour of defeat, is that they went into that locker room they didn’t argue about who missed a serve or who couldn’t hit the ball, but on how to improve for the next opponent. This game was over in the stat sheets and in their minds.
They’ll walk into practice the next day working on their mistakes, so as hoping not to see them again. Trainer says to her team every game, “Learn something new, bring it in with you tomorrow.”
As of Nov. 3, their record currently stands at 5-3 in conference. They’re desperately trying to clinch a playoff berth with 3 teams currently ahead.
Three of their next five games are on the road, but more are against losing teams. If they can play well on the road and take care of business here at home, they can maybe squeeze into the playoffs behind powerhouses Orange Coast College and Irvine.