After falling to No. 25 in the latest state poll, the Lancers volleyball team was tested Wednesday against conference foe Cerritos College.
The Lancers would go on to win the match in a five set nail biter, 25-16, 17-25, 25-23, 16-25 and 15-12, but not without being challenged on both sides of the net.
“I don’t know what happened in games two through five,” said head coach Bill Sanchez. “I think we played the way we’re capable of playing in the first game, but for some reason we lost our focus. We have to work on that.”
The Lancers received a big boost from freshman middle blocker Kendra Logan who returned after missing two games due to injury. Logan immediately made her presence felt on the first play of the game with an emphatic block.
“I was really excited to be back,” Logan said. “I was a little rusty in warm-ups, so to start off the game strong gave me a really big confidence.”
After getting off to a hot start, the Lancers looked out of sync in the second set. A kill from outside hitter Thula Parks pulled the Lancers within one point, 7-8. The Falcons would go on to score four straight points before taking the second set.
“We were out of rotation and really lost focus,” said middle blocker Angela Banuelos. “We have to be quicker at the net and talk more. We regrouped and focused on our technique and in the end we pulled out the win.”
In the third set the Lancers began with an early 3-1 lead, but Cerritos would score three straight to take a 4-3 lead. The Falcons had a chance to take a 2-1 set lead when they led 22-20 in the third set.
That’s when Thula Parks turned up the heat on the Falcon’s defense with a service ace and two kills to put the Lancers up, 23-22, and help them take the third set.
In the fourth set, the Lancers led 11-10, but errors and defensive breakdowns allowed the Falcons to pull away. Freshman outside hitter Amanda Payne scored two of the final three points to force a deciding fifth set.
“We didn’t play to our potential tonight,” said outside hitter Nora To’omalatai. “Mostly what went wrong was our communication, I think we struggled a little bit on that. We just have to talk and communicate more. We’ll work on that.”
Parks looks to be in mid-season form, leading the Lancers with 15 kills and 13 digs. Nora To’omalatai added 14 kills and 14 digs. The freshmen duo of Kendra Logan and Angela Banuelos held the middle together for the Lancers, combining for 16 kills and 11 blocks. Sophomore setter Tiffany Roesler added 40 assists and 11 digs.