Written by: Alyssa Younger
The Riverside City College Volleyball team has won five of its last six games, losing only the first game outside of tournament play, 3-1, against defending CCCAA champions, College of the Canyons, Sept. 16 in the Arthur N. Wheelock Gym.
RCC’s most recent victory was against College of the Desert in an away game Sept. 18, 3-0, despite losing against them last year.
In the the first set against College of the Desert, RCC had leads of 7-1, 11-5, 23-10 and finished off the first set with a 25-12 ending score.
During the middle of the first set against the Roadrunners, the Tigers’ freshman libero Sabrina Gonzaga served a seven point lead, while making two service aces to make the score 18-5.
The Roadrunners tied the Tigers three times in the beginning of the second set. After a tie in the second set RCC’s freshman outside hitter Amanda Vialpanda serves a 13-6 lead breaking the tie.
RCC led the scoreboard in the third set never falling behind to the Roadrunners. The third set ended as the Roadrunners made a service error and the Tigers took the set 25-19.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Wells from RCC was the kill leader with eight kills. She also was also the dig leader with 13 digs.
In a previous game RCC’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.
The Cougars are ranked No. 3 in California and were 8-1. RCC was 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 Tigers had 40 kills.
“You know Monica is a great coach. We knew they would be well coached,” said Cougars’ coach Lisa Hooper. “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.
“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.
Wells led the team by racking up 13 kills while Gonzaga led the team with 21 digs. Sophomore setter Melissa Moe led the team in assists with 31 total.
Wells and the RCC volleyball team 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.
RCC won the first set against Mounties 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 RCC’S volleyball took the court against the Eagles. The Tigers achieved nothing but success as they walked away with yet another win.
“It can only keep getting better and better,” says Tigers’ assistant coach Jamie Hofman. “Every game we face something new and our girls have responded very well to it.”
The Tigers are scheduled to play again on Sept. 29 at San Bernardino Valley College.