An often thunderously loud Hutto Patterson gymnasium was eerily quiet Friday night, filled with the dull murmurs of conversations recognizing that the Lancers’ 6-game win streak was coming to a sudden end, as they lost to the El Camino Warriors (25-21, 25-13, 25-13).
El Camino is ranked 16th in the state, and while they had lost two of their last three matches, both losses came to opponents ranked higher than themselves. Playing against a historically elite squad with a newly found chip on its shoulder, PCC simply appeared outmatched Friday.
“We had film, we did some study on them, we tried to get lineup and matchups that we felt would be beneficial for us, and we knew what was coming at us,” Austin Meador, Lancers assistant coach, said. “But sometimes even with prep it doesn’t go the way you want it. They’re a really good team and even with all that prep they just overcame all that.”
Pasadena City kept the first set close, with two great digs by Vanessa Lopez (team-high 11). allowing the Lancers to work the score to a 5-5 tie. With the score 11-8 in favor of El Camino, #7 Aiko Waters sent a dig to the middle of the floor, quickly glanced at a spot on the PCC side of the court, took two steps forward and tagged that spot with the volleyball to put El Camino up by four. The crowd fell silent, and PCC would never lead in the match.
Asked if this loss felt different from others because of the win-streak, libero Kelsey Sarreal replied, “Definitely, you definitely get a little used to winning but, at the same time, you can’t let that get to you.” As Sarreal began to speak, Emily Leung (Match-high 25 Assists) nodded in agreement.
Context is important and even with the dust cleared on their overall win streak, the Lancers still find themselves sitting atop the Conference with a perfect 4-0 record. A loss by Mt. San Antonio on Friday helped PCC keep a game of separation from their second place rivals.
“We’ve improved alot, and we’ve had a good run of a few weeks and this is a blip in the road,” Mike Terrill, Lancer head coach, said. “El Camino is historically a very good program and they showed that tonight.”
If Meador’s comments on the loss are anything to judge by, the coaching staff seems to have a shared sense of perspective on the loss
“It’s really cool that we were on a 6-0 run, but the bigger concern isn’t that. It’s making sure that we finish at the top of the conference and that we make the playoffs,” Meador said.
The Lancers’ next match comes against Riverside and is also non-conference. First serve is set for 5pm on Tuesday, October 21. The match will conclude a 13 game stretch during which the Lancers played 9 home games. They are 8-4 during that stretch so far.