The Pasadena City College women's volleyball team can look back on the 2019 season as one where the program made a big leap into the State Top 25. Glimpses of that level of play were seen Tuesday in the opening set of the #12 seed Lancers SoCal Regional Playoff Round 1 match at #5 Moorpark.
PCC played perhaps its best set v. a high-ranked team going back to the first month of the season. The freshmen-laden Lancers tried to put away the Raiders, but set-point leads of 24-23, 25-24, 26-25, 27-26 were matched each time by Moorpark until the host squad won the big game, 30-28. While PCC didn't recover from the lost opportunity, the Lancers still played well overall in a three-set loss, 30-28, 25-19, 25-17. Pasadena's season finished at 19-10 while Moorpark (16-3) moves on to Round 2 to face another South Coast Conference opponent in #4 El Camino.
Erykah Wilson led PCC's attack with 14 kills and 15 digs while Kaitlyn Karsten added seven kills and two blocks. Nalani Young contributed seven kills and nine digs, libero Grace Crawford 10 digs, and setter Nikki Hernandez delivered 24 assists. Izabella Hernandez totaled four blocks. Saku Yoshioka notched eight digs.
Pasadena had trouble defending the power and guile of Moorpark hitter Lily Karamanukyan, who scored 18 kills (hit .292) and made 15 digs. At the net, Megan Wall had seven kills and four blocks while libero Whitney Guthrie was tough defensively near the back row with 14 digs.
It was the second time the Lancers lost at Moorpark, having lost back on Sept. 11. PCC played better the second time around although it didn't show in the final result.
"We worked so hard in that first set and it just didn't fall our way," said PCC head coach Mike Terrill. "The effort was there all match and that's the important part. We battled a very good Moorpark team and did not make it easy on them. We went with virtually an all-freshmen hitting and blocking lineup for a good portion of the season and in this playoff. It's a bright future with hitters like Erykah and Nalani and we have some really improved front row players like Kaitlyn. Our blockers are only going to get better in Izabella Hernandez, Paulina Lopez and Maggie Harris. Saku is going to step right in next year as a top defensive talent."
The sophomore Crawford ends her PCC career as the first Lancer to reach 700 digs (709 overall) over two seasons. She is also the school's single-season digs leader with 394 this year. Young is the first PCC player to ever reach 300 kills and 300 digs in one season. The Lancers were ranked #22 in the final regular season State Top 25.