The women’s volleyball team put down a hobbled L.A. Trade-Tech (LATT) Friday night, keeping their playoff hopes in reach after losing two tough games to Mt. San Antonio and El Camino in the last two weeks.
So far this season, the team’s only losses have come from teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time of play, including El Camino (10) and bitter rival Mt. SAC (17) in a nailbiter. Although they lost both games, they pushed El Camino to extra points and took Mt. SAC to five sets before losing.
“At El Camino we were more offensively efficient in the last two sets but we also had some unforced errors that contributed to our loss there,” first-year head coach Terrill said.
Closing out close games and handling unforced errors was a problem for the Lancers last year, and something they’re trying to eliminate this year.
“That’s something we’re working on in practice … Rely on teammates to get something done together until we feel comfortable in tight situations. My goal is for them to play freely,” Terrill said. “I think it’s getting better and better. We’re a young team and we’re still learning how to win.”
Despite L.A. Trade-Tech holding just a 1-10 overall record coming into the match, PCC didn’t allow themselves to play down to their opponent, handily winning 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-14).
The Lancers were in control the entire time, with freshman outside hitter Paige Clingaman earning three consecutive kills in the middle of the first set to stop a Trade-Tech scoring run and put the set out of reach.
She tied for a game-high 11 kills, along with freshman outside hitter Vanessa Lopez.
Clingaman has established herself as one of the most dominant offensive players in the South Coast Conference-North Division this season. She is ranked third in the division for kills per set (2.97) and is second in the division for total kills (196).
PCC continued their domination early in the second set when they went on a 6-0 scoring run, featuring another three kills by Lopez. After a Trade-Tech score, they followed up with another 8-0 outburst filled with punishing spikes that left LATT’s Maritza Martinez reeling.
“Oh shit,” Martinez muttered while being forced backwards and conceding a point on a failed dig attempt.
Injury-plagued LATT was not the kind of team PCC hopes to compare themselves too — they dressed just seven players. One player wore a knee brace and limped throughout the match before leaving the game with an injury at the end of the third set.
“That team was a little depleted. They suffered an injury earlier in the week and during the match, so our thoughts are with their injured player,” Terrill said. “But regardless of who you’re playing you want to execute and be sharp and read the game and react quickly. In that match specifically we had to ramp that up even more and make sure we’re generating energy on our side.”
With the win, PCC moved to 5-0 at home, 12-7 overall, and 3-1 in conference play.
“We’ve been lucky enough to win at home,” Terrill said. “We’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of support from our fans, I think we’re in the top one or two in the state in attendance so far so that’s been awesome.”
PCC currently sits second in the South Coast-North Division. If they hope to make it into the playoffs they’ll need to take care of both those issues before returning to conference play in November.
They’ll be tested against another Top 25 team this week when they go against Long Beach City College (19) and their first-year coach, three-time beach volleyball Olympic gold medalist Misty Mae-Treanor, who recently defeated Mt. SAC in five sets.
Like most volleyball players, many on the Pasadena team look up to Mae-Treanor as a hero and inspiration, but according to assistant coach Albert Ahedo that shouldn’t be a problem.
“If we play together and play competitively we should be fine,” Ahedo said. “I told [the team], ‘It’s nice to say I beat Misty Mae. Not I met her, I beat her.’”
Long Beach has won nine of their last 10 games played and like the Lancers, are undefeated at home this season.
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