The Fullerton College women’s volleyball team rebounded from their first loss of the season by sweeping the Riverside Tigers in three sets (25-16, 25-21, 25-18) at home Friday Night.
For the Hornets (9-1, 4-1 OEC) it helped to ease the sting of their own three-set sweep at the hands of Golden West Rustlers.
“We had a little bit of a letdown on Wednesday [against Golden West] and then came out tonight and controlled the match,” said Ed Rapp, Fullerton’s head coach. “It’s good to get back on track.”
The Hornet’s only challenge came during the second set of the night. After dropping the first set 25-16 in the first set, the Tigers came out more focused and tied the match at nine on Alexandra Webster’s serve, which hit the net and fell on the Hornet’s side of the court.
Fullerton would score the next seven points but would let off the gas, allowing the Tigers to cut the lead to 22-20. The Hornet’s middle blocker Caroline Corp slammed home a shot into the Tiger’s defense, essentially ending the set. Caroline finished the game with nine kills to lead the Hornets.
“We didn’t play up to our potential,” said Monica Hayes-Trainer, Riverside’s coach. “The [Hornet] middles really took over and our serving wasn’t as strong as it should have been and that allowed the Hornets to run a much quicker offense.”
For the match, Fullerton College led with 45 kills to Riverside’s 26. The Hornets also led in blocked shots 5-1 and pulled out five more digs than the Tigers.
In the third set, Riverside jumped out to an early lead 4-3 before Fullerton ran off six of the next seven points to take control of the deciding match. The Hornets cruised to a 25-18 win without the Tiger’s challenging again.
“It was good to win,” said Madalene Barrett, a Hornet freshman. “We came off that big loss and we were taking it pretty hard. We needed this to kind of boost our morale again.”
That loss to Golden West seemed to be hanging over Friday night’s match. Golden West and Fullerton College are currently ranked three and four, respectively, in the California Community College Athletic Association volleyball rankings.
“We kind of all made that match [against Golden West] bigger than it was,” said Barrett. “They were undefeated, we were undefeated and we kind of beat ourselves. We made a lot of silly mistakes. “
After the loss, the Hornets are sitting in third place in the Orange Empire Conference behind the still undefeated Golden West and Irvine Valley teams.
“Now that we are coming up on [the second] half of conference, I think it’s time for us to become more of a group,” said Celeste Snider, sophomore libero for the Hornets. “Especially when we host Golden West.”
The Orange Empire Conference boasts five of the top-25 teams in the state according to the latest rankings. Fullerton, Golden West and Irvine Valley are all sitting in the top ten.
“We are the top conference in the state and it’s been that way for years,” said Hayes-Trainer. “It’s always a fight and a struggle.”
Snider finished with 9 digs in the game, tying here with Barrett to lead the team. Setter Kristen Santos aided the team with 21 assists to lead both schools.
Rapp wanted his team to use the loss to learn about themselves and fuel them to get better the rest of the year.
“Sometimes those matches make you aware of certain things you don’t always see,” said Rapp. “I wouldn’t say it was a good loss; no losses are good losses but we definitely have to push through. “
Next up for the Hornets is a visit to the undefeated Irvine Valley Lasers on Wednesday. The match is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.