PC notebook: Volleyball off to encouraging start
After a season-opening victory sweep against Cuesta and an impressive championship appearance at the Modesto Tournament last week, Porterville College volleyball coach Dale Henderson said he’s feeling good about a 3-1 start.
The Pirates had little trouble against host Modesto in the opening round, winning 25-18, 25-20, 25-17.
They were pushed to the limit against Solano, trailing 2-1, before coming back 25-19 and 15-12.
PC faced defending-state champion Los Angeles Pierce (and reigning National Coach of the Year Nabil Mardini) in the final — falling 25-19, 25-14, 28-26.
“We lost to the best team,” Henderson said. “L.A. Pierce still might be the favorites to win another state title. They are very talented, but I was proud the way we battled back, especially in the third game.”
The Pirates were without six-foot middle blocker Allison Clem (Monache), who was out with an injury. Henderson called on 5-6 sophomore libero Jennifer Landers (Granite Hills) to change positions, and play at the net for the first time in her college career.
“Jen was outstanding,” he said. “Not only the way she played physically, but the way she stepped-up for her team. Jen gave us an emotional spark at middle blocker and really gave us a better chance to compete.”
While PC’s other six-foot middle blocker Amanda Monge was a consistent force (36 kills in three matches), the Pirates’ other sophomore, setter Stephanie Dounseroux, continued her hot start to the season. Dounseroux (79 assists, 35-of-35 service attempts) also played big up front with a total of 16 kills.
“Stephanie has really improved her all-around game,” Henderson said.
“She’s going to rank among the state leaders in assists, but her contribution in scoring with that many kills makes us tough to beat.”
Freshman hitters Tori Davis (10 kills per match), Kacey Markarian (4 per match), and Danielle Carrillo (3 per match) are also gaining more confidence with increased playing time.
“Tori is really playing well for us,” Henderson said. “She ranks up there in every category, and leads the team in aces.”
As the Pirates wait for Clem to return to 100 percent, Henderson said other freshmen, including Myra Moreno (Strathmore) will have more opportunities.
The Pirates have three more road trips before their next home match. PC will play at Allan Hancock at 6 p.m. Wednesday before traveling to Aptos to face North powers Cabrillo and American River on Saturday, Sept. 17. Following a two-match crossover against Sierra and Feather River on Sept. 21, PC will open the Central Valley Conference season at home against Columbia on Sept. 23.
The first 2011 California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 Poll will be released next week, according to state statistician Robert Lewis. PC will not play another match until then, so a 3-1 record should be good enough to receive a few votes. The last time PC was ranked was No. 21 in the final 2009 poll.