Updated: Oct. 30, 2015 | Written by Laura M. Tapia
The Riverside City College Volleyball team had not beaten Golden West College in over three seasons and prior to that the last dry spell lasted approximately 20 years. The losing streak ended Oct. 28 as the Tigers defeated Golden West, 3-1.
The Rustlers still lead the all-time series over the Tigers, 52-4.
Although the Tigers were swept by Golden West on Oct. 2, Head coach Monica Hayes-Trainer attributed the loss to a lack of mental preparedness and noted how significant it is to win against the Rustlers.
“This was such a crucial game to win. It was very important for our confidence,” she said. “We were annihilated by (Golden West) at their home (game), for no reason other than we were not prepared mentally to win and now we know we could beat a team of this caliber.”
Freshman Lauren Reed also thought the prior match was uncharacteristic for the team and it made adjustments for this match.
“Last time we played them, we weren’t playing our game. So we came back and showed them how we really play, and they were surprised by it,” Reed said.
Reed contributed to the win totaling 15 points, 13 kills and six digs.
Besides noting how significant the win against the Rustlers was, Hayes-Trainer also noted how rare they are.
“We’ve only beaten them once before. That (was) when Marissa Vialpando’s sister (Amanda Vialpando) played for us and that was our first win against Golden West in probably 20 years,” Hayes-Trainer said.
Tigers’ outside hitter Marissa Vialpando totaled nine digs, six kills and seven points, while middle blocker Nyomi Ward led the team in points and kills, with 19.5 and 17 respectively.
Ward spoke on the teams’ combined effort and how that led to her dominance in the match.
“It’s not a one player sport, it’s a team effort,” Ward said. “Without my team, I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish that.”
The team had key contributions from setter Melissa Moe and outside hitter Lauren Wells. Moe had an impressive stat line consisting of 44 assists, 15 digs, two service aces and one kill.
Wells continued her strong season with 12 kills, 12 digs and a service ace.
Hayes-Trainer praised Ward on her performance in the match and growth throughout the season.
“Nyomi really came through,she was crucial to the win. She keeps improving and that is the exciting part about (her) and she still has so much further to go in her game,” Hayes-Trainer said. “She did her job today and kept us in the game.”
Hayes-Trainer continued to praise the team’s coachability and the team’s camaraderie this season.
A dynamic duo is forming, according to Hayes-Trainer both Watts and Moe have figured out their timing issues although they took time to connect.
Moe has significantly impressed the coaching staff with the way she handles the ball and the adjustments she makes during game action.
“Melissa is unbelievable,” Hayes-Trainer said. “She moves the ball around so beautifully and how she is able to find our middles that come in at different times, need the set (and) set at different heights. I am just so impressed with her.”
In the first set of action the Tigers started out strong, although Golden West was on their heels, RCC took the set, 25-23.
The Tigers lit up with energy in the second set and would go on to win it 25-19, afterward RCC struggled to keep the pace in the third set losing it 25-14.
In the fourth and final set Golden West called a Tigers’ play to question in which the referees ultimately decided the point belonged to Golden West.
Although Rustlers’ Sutton Fryslie scored the kill to extend Golden West’s lead to 12-10 following the review play, RCC seemed to use the review of the play as motivation when they began to score two points for every one from Golden West.
RCC continued the momentum as they went on a 4-0 run toward the end of the fourth set. The Tigers won the final set, 25-21.
Reed acknowledged that while the team rehearses similar plays the call pushed the team to work more after it was made.
“It threw us off a little bit. But we practice bad calls in practices, so we were able to come right back through it and fight pretty hard. It did motivate us to fight a little harder,” She said.
Reed also stated that the team’s energy and confidence built as the match went on.
According to California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association Rankings RCC is ranked No. 25, while Golden West is ranked No.19. Despite the rankings the Tigers extend their winning streak to three and their record to 11-5, while Golden West’s record changes to 9-7.
When asked what improvements could be made for the next match Ward responded by saying “On defense we could pick it up a little bit with our passion, but overall I think we did really good.”
The team is scheduled to host the next match against Fullerton College on Oct. 30 at 6 p.m.
Reed looks forward to achieving a top standing in the Orange Empire Conference in the team’s next match.
“I really hope to get a top five seed in league,” She said. “If we keep playing how we did tonight, then we could definitely do it.”