The Pierce College women’s volleyball team’s season came to an unexpected second place finish last weekend after being swept by the Cabrillo College Seahawks in final match of the CCCAA State Championship.
The team was served its second loss of the season (25-21, 25-23, 25-20, 25-17) on Sunday, Dec. 6 at College of the Canyons.
Head coach for the Brahmas Nabil Mardini thought the team did not get comfortable in playing the way that they usually do.
“We didn’t have any momentum today at all and I think it had something to do with it. We were never in a grove like we’ve been all year and we picked the wrong day to be like this but that’s just the way it goes, that’s sports for you,” Mardini said.
Pierce went into the final match having won the two previous matches the day before only dropping one set to Foothill. While not having lost a match they advanced to the finals as they waited for the winners of the early games on Sunday.
The state finals were in a double elimination format meaning the teams would have to drop two matches to get eliminated, giving any team that loses one match a second chance.
Nabil Mardini isn’t a fan of the double elimination.
“I’ve never been a big fan of it, even though I’ve won three state titles doing the double elimination format. It’s going to go away eventually, they are gonna go to the single elimination. I’ve never really liked it, if you lose, you lose, there are no second chances that’s the way I look at it. I’ve won the sudden-death game and I’ve won two state titles without the sudden-death game so I’ve been on both ends of the benches,” Mardini said.
In the first set the Brahmas started off slow as Cabrillo continued to increase the lead halfway through the set. Late in the set Pierce was able to cut the lead down and make a run but would not be able to catch up to the Seahawks.
Pierce did not look like the team that had made it all the way to the State finals.
Outside hitter for the Brahmas Zaire Dartis thought they didn’t have much knowledge on the way Cabrillo plays so that they would be able to have a better game plan.
“To be honest we were a little bit surprised, we thought COC was going to be our opponent so we didn’t really have any info on Cabrillo but that’s not really an excuse, we didn’t know what we were getting with them but we wanted to come in and play like Brahmas but that didn’t really happen today,” Dartis said.
The second set was closer as the Brahmas exchanged leads with the Seahawks but could not close the set out and lost by two. In the third set Cabrillo continued play strong on offense and defense. The Pierce offense was not able to get into any rhythm as the Seahawks were playing good defensively lead by the team’s blocking.
Pierce would drop all three sets of the match but the Brahmas would have one more opportunity in a one set, sudden-death match. Having gone all the way to the finals without losing a match Pierce got a second shot with the double elimination format in play.
In the last match Pierce started out the match with a small lead. The Seahawks would quickly respond behind the team’s hitting and receiving. The Brahmas started to get kills and made a run late in the match but that was not enough as Cabrillo was able to close it out.
The Brahmas watched as the Seahawks celebrated winning the state championship. The players were emotional as they saw the team’s great season end in a loss.
Middle blocker and opposite hitter Chelsea Lawrence remained positive despite the loss and tried to do the same for her teammates.
“I looked at all of them and all of their heads were down,so I went up to them and told them why are all your heads down, we are such a great team, be proud to be a Brahma. Just because we lost one game doesn’t mean that we lost the whole entire season. This loss doesn’t reflect the great season we had or that we are an awful game. The loss really really sucks but raise your heads high, we played so great this entire tournament, we didn’t lose a game until this game, we are such a great team, I couldn’t stand seeing their heads down,” Lawrence said.
Despite the loss the team was ready to get back to championship game next season but with a different result.
“This whole season would motivate me, we played so great and for next season we just have to come back and win it all,” Lawrence said.
Coach Mardini talked about the players coming back for next season to make another run at the championship and also had words for his team following the loss.
We have a good core coming back, we are always building and we always want to get to the big stage that’s the whole goal and we will be back. We have a good core coming back and we can go from there. I will recruit more to get us back to the big stage.” Mardini said. “I told them that no one game defines anybody’s season, they have to be proud and look at the whole body of work, no one match defines anybody’s season.