Standing with hands on knees, Freshman middle Danielle Johnson could only watch Thursday night with her team (PCC) up 22-21 in the second set. If the Lancers could close it out, they would be up two sets to none, otherwise, the match would be tied at a set a piece.
The Lancers would not score another point in the set, allowing a 5 point run and losing the set to the Mt. San Jacinto (Mt. Jac) Eagles 25-22. PCC would fight back to win the match in four sets (27-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-14) but the victory came after a major loss last weekend, one which has nothing to do with a boxscore.
“[Danielle Johnson is] our middle blocker, [and] she suffered a season-ending injury. . .to her ACL and lateral meniscus,” said assistant coach, Albert Ahedo. “It happened in San Diego as she was blocking. . . immediately when she jumped that’s when she pulled her leg up. . . it was definitely hard to see.”
Johnson was immediately treated by the training staff at the gym.
Since the injury came early in the season, Danielle will not lose a year of eligibility.
“We’re excited that she’ll still have four more years to play,” coach Ahedo said. For now, “it gives [other players] an opportunity to step up.”
That is precisely what Freshman Rachel Johnson (who filled the middle blocker position) did Thursday. Johnson and teammate Lania Potter were the only two players on either team to score a solo block. Johnson also combined with teammates on 4 other blocks, as many as the entire Mt. Jac. team combined.
Johnson, a natural outside hitter, was just as effective from behind the endline as she was from in front of the net, leading both teams with 4 serve attempts. Ultimately, her 13 points were more than any Mt. Jac player, and second only to sophomore outside hitter Paige Clingaman (15).
“I just felt like I had something to prove,” Johnson said.
Mt. Jac played with the same mentality, who tacked on to their 5-0 second-set winning run with a 12-4 start to the third. Head coach Mike Terrill points to this as a key moment in the match.
“Midway through the third we re-adjusted and…made some changes that really took us over the edge,” Terrill said. “We made a mentality change, we were more patient every time we were touching the ball, I think [we had more] blocks . . . so we adjusted to what their hitters were doing.”
While the blockers slowed the bleeding, the outside hitters, led by Clingaman, started turning the tides offensively. Clingaman scored down the right sideline against a two-player block at least three times in the set, with one of these giving the Lancers their first lead at 15-14. Kendall Schmedes (team-high 23 digs) would give PCC their first two-point lead at 23-21, and the team would win the set on an ace by none other than Rachel Johnson.
The fourth set was noncompetitive (25-14). Led by a strong service game from Vanessa Lopez, the Lancers marched to victory in their home opener.
PCC also played a doubleheader on saturday, winning the first match and losing the second. Grace Crawford left the game with an injury and did not return. The Courier’s Eric Haynes will have the full story.
The Lancers next match is Wednesday, September 20th on the road against Ventura. The match is scheduled for 7:00pm.