With Friday night's sweep over Cerritos College, 25-23, 25-19, 25-21, and Wednesday's 5-set triumph at LA Harbor, the Pasadena City College women's volleyball team is moving back in the right direction. The Lancers are now just a match under .500 at 7-8 overall.
Both South Coast Conference crossover contests (non-conference in record) were tougher than advertised, but that was a good thing according to PCC head coach Mike Terrill.
"We were tested against a vastly improved LA Harbor team, and that was a feisty Cerritos squad that never allowed us to get much separation in any of the sets," Terrill said. "We have tremendous depth, and I felt in particular our defensive specialists Pamela Galvan and Emily Ramirez stepped up the last two matches. Players that started the season on the bench have worked their way into our rotation. Another reason we are starting to play better is we went back to a 5-1 offense with our our regular setter Emily Leung healthy again."
Cerritos (0-12) pushed PCC hard in hopes of ending its season-long losing streak. The first set featured 15 ties and Cerritos led late at 23-22. Outside hitter Vanessa Lopez responded with a pair of kills and a Falcons' attack error gave Pasadena the set win. In set 2, the teams traded points again with seven ties. PCC led 16-14 and finally pulled away as a Lopez set point kill gave the Lancers a 2-0 games lead.
In set 3, Cerritos led 6-5, but Pasadena went an 11-4 run capped by a Ramirez ace for a 16-10 lead. Cerritos came right back and cut it to 17-16. The Lancers maintained the advantage though and put an exclamation on the sweep on middle blocker Rachel Johnson's power kill.
Johnson had her "best match of the season," according to Terrill, as she scored 12 kills in 20 attempts and hit .500 overall. In the opening set, Johnson was 7-for-7 to open the match before an attack was finally dug out by Cerritos. Johnson added two blocks. Leung set 35 assists with 10 digs, middle blocker Lania Potter added eight kills and three blocks, Galvan made 12 digs. New libero Kelsey Sarreal impressed with 20 digs and four set assists.
Maybe the player with the biggest impact in the 2-match win streak was Lopez, a letterman who finished with nine kills and delivered with sound defense out of the back row on 15 digs. She had her most productive match in her Lancers career against Harbor as she helped rally them to a 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 29-27, 16-14 victory. The Lancers faced three match points in the fourth set against the host Seahawks, trailing 24-22 before taking the set in extra points. In the final set, PCC led 8-4 but sweated it out some more before finally winning again in extras. Lopez finished with her collegiate high of 29 kills (65 attempts, hit .385) and added 11 digs.
Also against Harbor (5-4 this season), Leung totaled 50 assists with 16 digs. Ramirez served seven of the team's 14 aces and had nine digs. Potter ripped nine kills and Sarreal made 19 digs. Johnson collected seven kills.
On Wednesday, Oct. 4, PCC begins the 8-match, SCC North Division schedule against Rio Hondo College. The conference match begins at 6 p.m. at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.