The Pasadena City College women's volleyball team may have lost both of its non-conference matches this week but the Lancers are showing signs that their quest for a second consecutive South Coast Conference North Division title is well within reach.
The Lancers played well in a 4-set defeat Friday at state No. 6-ranked Long Beach City College. That followed yet another extremely tight, 5-set loss at Riverside City College on Wednesday. PCC is 8-11 overall, but tied with East Los Angeles at 3-1 after the first round of SCC North play.
PCC lost to LBCC, 25-18, 19-25, 25-22, 25-21, as outside hitter Leslie Rivera paced the Lancers on 14 kills and 18 digs. Libero Pamela Galvan contributed 29 digs and two aces and opposite Abby Martin had 10 kills, four blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Janell Currier added nine kills, eight digs and a pair of aces.
After winning set 2 to tie the 15-3 Vikings, the Lancers jumped out to a 15-11 lead in set 3. Tylie Johnson powered four kills as part of a 14-7 run that gave Long Beach a 2-1 lead in sets. In set 4, PCC led 4-0 and was tied as late as 19-19. Johnson, who finished with a match-high 15 kills, scored three over the final six points to clinch the win.
"It was a winnable match for us," said PCC head coach Mike Terrill. "We have much respect for Long Beach as they have a great team and a deep bench. We played well and were consistent with our mindset. We're adjusting faster and taking what we've worked on in practices and executing it in matches far better than earlier in the year. I'm excited to see the progress we can still make as we play LA Harbor next week and then move into the second round of North Division play."
Terrill can't explain how the team has had the tough luck of participating in a state-high eight matches that have gone the 5-set distance, but indicated that it's representative of his team's ability to battle no matter the situation. PCC has a 4-4 record in such contests after losing to a competitive Orange Empire Conference opponent in Riverside, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21, 25-18, 15-10. It snapped the Lancers 3-match win streak.
With the Lancers ahead 2-1 in sets, Riverside grabbed leads of 10-4 and 18-9 on its way to wnning the fourth set and sending the contest to the fifth game. A kill by Currier gave PCC a 5-3 lead in the fifth set. Rivera later nailed a kill for an 8-8 tie. The Tigers went on a 5-1 run to take control. A Martin kill cut it to 14-10 but Riverside scored match point on a kill by Vashti Elias-Romero.
The freshman Rivera had another of her many all-around efforts this year as she totaled 17 kills, 24 digs and served three aces. Martin added 16 kills and Currier had 12 kills, 12 digs and two aces. Middle blocker Jada O'Mally added 11 kills and hit .429. Setter Tehya Topalian made 25 assists in the team's 6-2 offense with fellow setter Nikki Hernandez chipping in 21 assists and nine digs in the team's 6-2 offense. Eight different players recorded set assists in the match.
Galvan amassed 32 digs as the sophomore is on a defensive binge of late. She has 93 digs in the last three matches (in 14 sets) alone and leads the team with an overall 3.78 dig per set average.
PCC hosts Los Angeles Harbor College in a SCC crossover (non-conference) match on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in a 6 p.m. first serve at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.