Volleyball: Riverside City College falls to defending CCCAA champions

Posted: September 17, 2015 | Written by: Alyssa Younger

Riverside City College’s volleyball team was defeated by the visiting College of the Canyons, the CCCAA defending champions, 3-1, despite several tied scores throughout the game, on Sept. 16 in the Wheelock Gym.

College of the Canyons is ranked No.3 in California and are 8-1. Riverside City College is 4-1 after the Cougars gave the team its first loss of the season.

“Losing is always difficult but we learned so much from last night’s game,” said Tigers’ coach Monica Hayes-Trainer in an email.

The game had 17 tied scores and five lead changes. The Cougars had 52 kills while the Riverside Tigers had 40 kills.

“You know Monica is a great coach. We knew they would be well coached,” said Lisa Hooper, Cougars’ head coach. “We knew that they would try to figure out ways to disrupt us and I think that they did that well.”

The Cougars took the first set 25-18 and the second set 25-20. The Tigers rallied together for a win in the third set 25-22. In the fourth and final set, the Cougars made a comeback to defeat the Tigers 25-20.

During the second set the Tigers came back strong as sophomore outside hitter Amanda Barker scored two service aces. Emily Bible from the opposing team made an attack error giving the Tigers the point. Sophomore middle blocker Gabrielle Dahle made a kill giving the Tigers a five point lead.

“Canyons is a very good team and we competed quite evenly with them, other than the slow start,” Hayes-Trainer said. “According to our point spread in the first set, when we were down significantly, we started scoring double what they were scoring during the last half of that set and could have won it if we had started playing well a few minutes earlier.”

Hayes-Trainer credited the team for making the proper adjustments but understands that the team still has parts of its game it can address during practice as it prepares for the next game.

“We did several things that we did not have time to focus on in practice and the players adjusted very well,” she said. “That is how we won the third set.”

Although the Tigers were missing starting middle blocker and outside hitter Lauren Reed who had seven kills, five digs and two sets in the game against Santa Monica, where she was injured, RCC still had several key players in the game.

Freshman outside hitter Lauren Wells led the team by racking up 13 kills while Freshman libero Sabrina Gonzaga led the team with 21 digs. Sophomore setter Melissa Moe led the team in assists with 31 total.

College of the Canyons had several key players including freshman outside hitter and opposite Emily Bible who led the team in kills with 16, while sophomore Brooke Garelick led the team with 18 digs; Sophomore setter Katie Rutecki didn’t get left behind and led the team in assists totaling 33.

Wells and the Riverside City College volleyball team previously hosted Mt. San Antonio and Mt. San Jacinto in a doubleheader on Sept. 11.

From the start of the game Wells made a kill scoring the first point in the first set and again in the third set against Mt. San Jacinto, Wells was set up by sophomore setter Melissa Moe.

The pair also made a kill scoring the winning point in the second set of the game.

“We rely on each other on and off the court so that’s really helpful,” said Wells.

RCC first faced off against Mt.San Antonio winning 3-1. The Tigers then faced off against Mt. San Jacinto winning 3-0.

The Tigers were defeated by Mt. San Antonio three times within the last four years, Friday’s match broke that losing streak.

“They’re very good and they have had exceptional players in the past so they know the game and I always know that they’re going to have a great team,” said Hayes-Trainer.

The Tigers went back and forth with points as they battled to keep their lead in both games.

Riverside won the first set against Mt. San Antonio 25-19, but failed to come out successful in the second set, which the Mounties won by only two points.

“For me I just try to stay positive and know that the past is in the past and that we’ll get the next play,” said  Wells who was the kill leader of both games and had a total of 36 points between each game despite the close matches.

A lack of communication contributed to the team being down in the second set according to the Tigers’ coach.

“Once they stopped talking it totally broke down,” said Hayes-Trainer. “So in the time out we just said you guys we’re a positive team, we’re a talking team, we’re friends on the court so just support each other and have fun.” The team fortunately rallied together to take the win.

Later in the evening Riverside City College volleyball took the court against Mt. San Jacinto. The Tigers achieved nothing but success as they walked away with yet another win.

“It can only keep getting better and better,” says assistant coach Jamie Hofman. “Every game we face something new and our girls have responded very well to it.”
The Tigers will play again Friday, Sept. 18 in Palm Springs against the College of the Desert.