The 2014 season proved to be a rebuilding campaign for the Lancers’ women’s volleyball team.
With the departure of five sophomores from last season’s squad and an early season-ending injury to the team’s lone returning sophomore, Saige Spence, the Lancers finished the season with a 5-16 overall record, good for sixth place in the South Coast Conference.
Although PCC missed the postseason for the first time in six years, the Lancers’ improved tremendously over the 2014 season and proved to be a rebuilding team headed in the right direction.
“Our confidence improved over the season and I’m hoping that the experience the ladies gained this year will help next season,” former head coach Bill Sanchez said.
With a completely new roster the Lancers struggled out the gate, losing their first nine matches. They wouldn’t get their first win of the season until a three-set sweep over East Los Angeles College on Oct. 10.
“Our team is a very family-oriented team and I think that will benefit us in the future,” freshman middle blocker Chy’annea Hodges said. “Putting in the extra work in practice helped us become more of a team and we really benefited from the extra work we put in.”
In her first season playing organized volleyball, Hodges became one of the Lancers’ most improved players. Although Hodges may be naturally short for her position, the 5-foot-9 middle blocker was important for the Lancers on both sides of the net, leading the team in total blocks (32) and finishing second in total kills (134).
Hodges attributed the volleyball season for her improved footwork on the basketball court.
“I think I became more faster and more of a critical thinker on the court,” Hodges said. “My footwork has improved over the season and I can jump higher.”
Another bright spot for the Lancers volleyball team this season was the emergence of freshman outside hitter Lahiz Longobardi. With the departure of stand-out volleyball player Nora To’omalatai, Longobardi quickly became one of the Lancers’ most productive players on offense, leading the team in total kills (215) and kills per set (3.4).
Although Longobardi had a successful season statistically, the Brazilian native is already focused on building for the future and helping the Lancers return to playoff contention.
“We definitely need to improve on defense,” Longobardi said. “We can improve our organization on the court and we definitely need to work on being able to bounce back and finish the game strong if we fall behind.”
Despite losing the team’s total assist leader in Megan Williams (483) and leader in digs, Sabrina Takeuchi (304), Longobardi expects the Lancers to be much improved next season.
“I never wanted the season to end,” Longobardi said. “Next fall we’re going to be ready, better communication definitely and an improved defense.”