Rebuilding year for the women’s volleyball team

Lorrie Reyes

It would eventually happen.


After eight years of being conference champs in the Western State Conference — South Division, the Pierce College women’s volleyball team was knocked off its throne during the 2009 season.


No conference trophy, no playoffs.


“This past season was a struggle,” said Reyna Rochin, sophomore defensive libero and captain. “We’ve been conference champs for eight years in a row and we happen to be the team to break that.”


A rocky season started when Sarah Martin, Pierce outside hitter and 2008 WSC Player of the Year, suffered an injury to her back that left her sidelined for the entire season.


Plagued with injuries throughout the season and only three sophomores — Rochin, Natasha Wilroy and Brooke McFarren — the volleyball team struggled to get wins and started out 0-3 during conference play.


Head coach Nabil Mardini always felt the talent was there, but that the team wasn’t always playing together.


“They work hard, but we’re not letting our instincts take over,” Mardini said after losing to Bakersfield in October. “They’re not playing Brahma ball.”


The team’s instincts and talent were sometimes hidden under nerves.


With 10 sophomores on the team, inexperience couldn’t lock close games up.


In each of the four games that stretched to a deciding fifth set, the women’s volleyball team couldn’t pull out a victory, including during back-to-back games against College of the Canyons and Glendale College that held playoff implications.


Although the team was unsuccessful in earning a playoff berth this season, the Brahmas finished strong by winning the last four games.


Pierce finished its season with a conference record of 7-5 after beating West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Citrus and conference champions Bakersfield Colleges.


Bakersfield, seeded eighth in playoffs, finished the conference 11-1, the only loss coming from Pierce.


“We followed through with our exact plan of attack and picked at Bakersfield’s weaknesses,” Rochin said. “We had nothing to lose. The attitude we had of going all out and playing together, for each other, really allowed us to pull together as a team and work together a lot more easily.”


The team might be able to work easier with each other next year, as only three sophomores are graduating and Martin is planning to return to the team .


Their record might not reflect how much experience they gained and the numerous hurdles they had to overcome this season.


The women’s volleyball team ended the season with a conference record of 7-5 and an overall record of 11-14.


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