After being down two sets to one in a match for the first time in the season, the Pierce College women’s volleyball team responded like the defending state champions as they came back to defeat Orange Coast on Saturday.
The #1 state ranked Brahmas continue their perfect season as they improve to 29-0 with the win against the #6 seed Pirates by scores of 25-18, 21-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-8.
“We didn’t play emotionally very good but we pulled out the win, they had a very good scouting report on the Brahmas,” said Pierce head coach Nabil Mardini. “Their left sides were winning the left side battle, they were scoring a lot of kills, we weren’t blocking as good which we normally do.”
Big performances by Danetta Boykin, who spiked 20 kills to increase her total to 308 for 564 attempts, and setter Janelle Futch who dished out 56 assists to help her hit the century mark for the 2011 campaign.
“It was a great contest with two outstanding programs, when you go five sets in volleyball it can’t get better than that,” said Pierce College Athletic Director Bob Lofrano.
“When you’re in playoffs you play teams that were used to winning like you are so it really forced them to dig down dip, both physically and mentally and they showed they’re able to do that.”
Although Pierce came out victorious, state aces leader Kathleen Wright, who served three aces in the match, had to play with an injury that forced Coach Mardini to move her to the outside making Brooke Dawson as the libero.
“We had to move her [Wright], she has always been our secret weapon in a way if we were in trouble, we did and it worked but it was more like a win and loss for us because we won the match but lost her, “ said Mardini.
Wright is out for the rest of the postseason with a knee injury, according to Mardini.
“Is not good, she’s a great player and they’re going to have to overcome that, injuries are part of sports and teams won’t feel sorry for them.”
Head coach Mardini talked to the players about Wright’s injury.
“I just told them to not make a big deal out of it, that we had to change the lineup, make adjustments and that we had to move forward,” he said. “Because we can’t dwell on it, if we do then we’re increasing the level of doubt.”
Despite finishing the season with an 81-3 sets record, the Brahmas have quite struggled in keeping the same dominance during playoffs.
“We’ll find out [how the team responds], that is a true test of character for the team, we’ll be ok, we still have the guns on the floor to win this.”