State #8 Volleyball Pays Back #14 Canyons In 5-Set Comeback Win

Reese Roper makes a play at the net during PCC's comeback win at Canyons Wednesday night (photo by Michael Watkins).
Reese Roper makes a play at the net during PCC's comeback win at Canyons Wednesday night (photo by Michael Watkins).

A 2021 first-round playoff exit in a 3-set loss to College of the Canyons was on the minds of the Pasadena City College women's volleyball coaching staff entering a rematch between the two squads Wednesday. When the visiting Lancers lost the first two sets, the thought of having to go through another deflating sweep was enough to reverse course for PCC.

The state #8-ranked Lancers made a valiant rally from down 2-0 and for the third time this season won a match in five sets, stunning #14 Canyons, 15-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13, 15-12. PCC extended its winning streak to seven matches.

While lineup changes were made mid-match, the play of the Lancers' lone sophomore Bia Silva, the only remaining player who played in last year's playoff loss, stood out in the decisive fifth set. Silva totaled a remarkable seven kills or nearly half of the team's points during the game to 15 in using a variety of different skill attacks. A setter by trade, Silva played opposite in the fifth and performed a few two-hand place shots for points that allowed Pasadena to help close out the victory.

Overall, Silva recorded her third triple-double of the season on a season-high 18 kills (hit .350), 25 set assists, and 12 digs (plus three aces). Other standouts were Makayla Chiechi at libero who made 26 digs, served four aces and set six assists and Reese Roper who landed 10 kills in 30 attempts without an error (hit .333) plus four blocks (two solos).

Leslie Pacheco added six kills and nine digs and Ashley Gilbert six kills, four blocks (two solos), and made two aces. Lindsay Delgadillo contributed 13 assists, three aces, and seven digs. 

"It was a nice bit of redemption for us," said PCC head coach Mike Terrill. "Our coaching staff received a number of texts right after the match from members of last year's team thanking us with such notes as 'now my heart is complete again.' It shows you how are alums care about our program and know how important this win was for the program as a whole.

"Canyons (a state quarterfinalist last year) is such a well-coached team and builds energy off of scoring runs. To beat COC on its home court, after being down 2-0, made this a bigger feat for us. It really was a total team effort. We switched things up with lineup changes and got back to playing our type of volleyball. We had the momentum by the end of the fourth set."

Terrill talked about Roper, who has turned into a go-to player off the Lancers bench.

"Reese is so well-liked by her teammates and has earned their respect. It seemed like the moment she came into the match, it served as a calming effect for us. She played great and was part of why things swung back to our favor. Makayla was another player who stepped into her role well and made a difference. Bia has matured with experience and we have relied on her many talents. All season, she has provided big plays in big moments."

Silva currently leads the state in aces (37), is 10th in total points (147.5, teammate Emma Yogan is ninth with 148), and 14th in assists (232). As a team, PCC leads the state in total aces (138), is third in total points, fourth in total kills, and 11th in defensive digs. 

Tonight, the Lancers begin their 12-match, South Coast Conference schedule as they travel to face El Camino College at 6 p.m. As the defending SCC champions, PCC hopes to build on an 18-match conference win streak. The last time PCC lost a conference match was against Rio Hondo (four sets) on Nov. 19, 2019 in the third place final of the SCC Tournament.