When outside hitter Vanessa Lopez scored her fourth kill at 13-3 of the second set, it was clear that she was the player LA Harbor College (LAHC) needed to stop, but by the time she celebrated her set winning kill at 25-17 it was obvious they never would. PCC won the enthralling match Wednesday, Sept. 27th, 3-2 (19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 29-27, 16-14).
This match touched not only on competitive interests but social interests as well, as LAHC Sophomore and middle blocker Jade Mitchell faced away from the flag during the national anthem. In professional sports, when an athlete is the only member of their team protesting during the anthem they often receive visual support (such as a hand on the shoulder) from teammates. Mitchell’s team, otherwise shoulder to shoulder, stood several feet away from her.
“I felt like she could have faced [the flag] out of respect for the national anthem,” said PCC libero Emily Ramirez. “I did notice that she wasn’t facing it and I [thought] why is she not?”
The protest comes after President Trump’s comments Friday that NFL owners should point to players kneeling during the anthem and say “look at that son of a bitch” and that such players should be fired.
The Seahawks did not respond to requests for comments regarding the anthem.
Mitchell did receive support from teammates in the competitive arena however, as she and her teammates embraced after she scored the winning point of the first set.
Along with freshman outside hitter Nalani Remigio, Mitchell’s play was necessary for the Seahawks to go a full five sets against the Lancers, and almost sufficient to beat them in four.
In the third set, Mitchell gave the Seahawks the lead twice (22-23, 23-24) and Remigio beat a two player block to score the set winning point.
Pamela Galvan’s (freshman libero) ace gave the lancers an early lead at 3-2 in the fourth set, but PCC struggled to maintain their leads and needed a solution. Getting the ball to Lopez proved to be just that.
“Emily Leung, she battled through a tough match personally, and she made it happen, she’s the one that started setting [Lopez] over and over and over again, and it was working so we had to keep going to the well. That was all the players that did that,” Terrill said.
Earning 5 of PCC’s next 6 points, Lopez scored on every ball that was set to her putting the Lancers ahead 9-5 in the fourth. she led the lancers last game with 8 kills, her total in the fourth set alone on Wednesday. Her 29 kills in the match is a season high for the lancers, and twenty more than any other lancer scored against LAHC.
The Seahawks, however, clawed back and earned a match point at 22-24. The gym awakened in a deafening roar, predicting a Seahawk victory over a PCC team that had relied too much on a single player. Yet, helped by a kill from Paige Clingaman and an ace from Ramirez (game high 7 serve attempts), the Lancers fought off match point and won the set 29-27.
“Serving is my strongest of all the skills that I have,” said Ramirez “and also the momentum of the game helped to build my serve too.”
Starting with an incredible diving dig by Galvan and another ace by Ramirez, the Lancers would demonstrate more offensive balance in the fifth than earlier in the match. Remigio and Mitchell once again scored consecutive points to bring LAHC within one, but the lancers eventually took the set at 16-14.
The Lancers began a three game home stand Friday with a win against Cerritos.
PCC continues the homestand with their SCC North opener against Rio Hondo Wednesday, Oct. 4th at 6pm.