By Austin Turner
Following a strong showing a week prior in their home opener, the Riverside City College beach volleyball team went to Huntington Beach on March 16 looking to keep their string of good performances going.
The women from RCC did just that, splitting two matches against stiff competition.
The Tigers swept Antelope Valley College in dominant fashion, winning by a score of 5-0, with four of those victories ending in straight sets.
“Against Antelope Valley, I was very happy (with our performance),” RCC beach voleyball coach Monica Hayes-Trainer said. “They’re a nice, solid team, they work very hard and we really competed well.”
The top pairing of the match for RCC, sophomores Brittney Diffine and Marcella Rodriguez, were able to pull off a nail-biting victory, winning the deciding third set 15-13. Rodriguez was happy with how she and Diffine played against Antelope. “We were more fluid I feel, and we were more on top of our game,” Rodriguez said. “We knew where the shots were open and what to do.”
Another great performance from the Tigers came from freshmen Natalie Escher and Julia Balancier, who managed to hold Antelope Valley to only five points in the first set and held on for the win 21-5, 21-15.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, their match against Santa Ana College didn’t go as planned.
They were defeated 4-1, with the only win coming from sophomore Delaney Beck and freshman Lauren Dunmore. The pair were outstanding as they avoided disaster when their opponents nearly came back from a five point deficit. They were able to hang on, winning in straight sets 21-14, 24-22.
“That was real good to have that final push,” Hayes-Trainer said. “That’s what we need to see out of them.”
Though the Tigers struggled against Santa Ana, they still put up a solid showing. Freshman duo Patricia Brucks and Rozarya Barrett held strong in their game, going the distance and falling after a hard fought third set. Another freshman tandem, Madison Bogh and Roni Lopez, also pushed their opponents to their limits, falling 15-9 in the third set.
Hayes-Trainer was pleased with the fight her team put up against Santa Ana, but felt they could have finished their matches better.
“Even though we won a lot of the first sets, we ended up losing the second set and letting them get the momentum, so real (disappointed) in that.”
Thankfully for the Tigers, they’ll get a chance at redemption against Santa Ana on March 30 in Huntington Beach.
RCC will also take on Orange Coast College, who swept the Tigers in the season opener. RCC will enter the pair of matches with a record of 4-5, and will try to keep up the improvements they’ve made as of late.