Amazing Rally Falls Short As WVB Season Ends In 5-Set Loss To Grossmont

Lancer Reese Roper goes up to block Grossmont All-American Madi Bogle during Tuesday's playoff thriller (photo by Michael Watkins).
Lancer Reese Roper goes up to block Grossmont All-American Madi Bogle during Tuesday's playoff thriller (photo by Michael Watkins).

The Pasadena City College women's volleyball team ran the gamut of play levels in its Southern California Regional, Round 2 playoff match on Tuesday night. Despite playing on their home floor at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, the Lancers looked out of sync for two sets against the fast-paced attack of state #6-ranked Grossmont.

But the #15-ranked Lancers made adjustments in blocking and started to click at the serve line, overcame the loss to injury in the third set of middle blocker Ashley Gilbert, and used everyone on their 12-player roster in a rally from out of nowhere. Convincingly down 2-0, PCC collected hard-fought 2-point wins in the third and the fourth sets and came within seven points in the fifth of possibly pulling of a miracle comeback. Alas, midnight came early as Grossmont went on a 9-3 run to win the fifth and end the Pasadena season, 25-14, 25-16, 23-25, 23-25, 15-11.

PCC (17-8) received inspired play from middle blocker Reese Roper, who hammered five kills and stuffed Grossmont's powerful hitters for five blocks, and reserve outside hitter Ashley Marrone, who scored nine kills and twirled three aces. Setter Lindsay Delgadillo came off the bench to set 14 assists and make flawless serves with eight digs, and middle blocker Ariana Pedroza who played sparingly the past month made big plays at the net during the comeback. 

All-South Coast Conference First Team outside hitter Emma Yogan recorded a team-high 12 kills (nine digs and two aces) while All-SCC First Team setter Bia Silva appropriately closed her PCC career with her fifth triple-double of the year on 10 kills, 21 assists, 18 digs, three solo blocks, and two aces. Both raised their level of play in the third and fourth sets in particular. All-SCC Second Team libero Emily Licon (19 digs and six set assists) was steady on defense. 

"I'm sad because we didn't get to the finish line tonight," said PCC head coach Mike Terrill. "We were slow to adjust to Grossmont's speed. I'm also feeling a sense of pride, the fight we showed in sets 3 and 4 was awesome. It felt like we were going to get it done in the fifth set, but we didn't match the intensity and creativity we had in the early parts of the set after we changed sides. The match mirrored our season in the sense that we had moments where we reached our potential, but weren't able to sustain it long enough."

Grossmont (22-3) was carried by a sophomore veteran hitting trio of All-American Madi Bogle with 11 kills, 12 digs and five blocks, Brooke Miller with 16 kills and 12 digs, and 6-foot middle leaper Kelsey Carter, who rifled 14 kills and hit .429 Maybe the player that hurt PCC the most was setter Chelsee Trendler, who dished out 57 assists, dumped five kills and made a number of big plays late in the match. 

In the third set, Marrone blasted a kill, then served back-to-back aces for a 23-18 Lancers lead and a Griffins' service error gave PCC set point. In the fourth set, Grossmont took a 19-18 lead but it was Roper's turn to shine as she made consecutive block kills (one with teammate Kyley Chang), then landed a kill for a 22-19 Lancers advantage. At 23-23, Silva hit a back-line kill and Makayla Chiechi served a set-clinching ace that sent the match to a deciding fifth game.

In the fifth, Marrone scored a pair of kills and Yogan one for a 4-1 lead. Marrone scored another big kill at 8-6 as the teams then changed sides (fifth set rules at midway point). The short break proved fatal for PCC as Lauren Dumo floored an ace that gave the Griffins a 9-8 lead. Dumo held serve for the next five straight points, including two kills by Miller to make it 14-9. PCC held off match point twice before a Miller kill at the net ended the thrilling playoff.

Terrill said, "I'm excited about the future for our team. This year, we had 11 freshmen and one sophomore (Silva) and achieved a ton for such a young group. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the off-season but our future is bright."

Grossmont advances to face state #3 and South #1 seed Ventura on Saturday. 


Silva finished with a team-high 62 aces, the second most in a single season by a Lancer, but her .7294 ace-per-set average in 85 sets played is a new school record. She just edged out single-season ace leader Yanina Gherardi (also a setter), who served 75 aces in 103 sets in 1993. Gherardi had the previous ace average record at .7281.