The women’s volleyball team overcame a slow start to beat the LA Harbor Seahawks in an impressive straight-sets win at Hutto-Pattinson gymnasium Wednesday night.
The Lancers swept LA Harbor, 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 in a match where the scoreboard didn’t reflect the gritty nature of their performance.
With the Seahawks losing straight sets in all previous five conference games, PCC was expected to dismiss the Seahawks easily due to their 2-3 conference record.
The Lancers were forced on the back-foot early on due to poor execution of some wayward kills. This allowed LAH to forge ahead to an early lead. It didn’t help that key freshman players ,Lahiz Longobardi and Chy’annea Hodges, were kept quiet.
Sophomore setter Megan Williams felt that a mentality shift and letting go of self-inflicted pressure made the win easier.
“We felt expectation to win, we tend to have that issue. If we don’t know what the competition is like, we can focus on doing the best we can,” Williams said.
Freshman libero Sabrina Takeuchi was instrumental in keeping her team on the heels of the Seahawks due to her infectious energy, selfless retrieves and physical dives.
“You have to sacrifice your body in volleyball, you have to go out and there and you can’t be scared,” Takeuchi said. “We’ve had several talks that the team comes before you.”
With the first set tied at 18-18, Longobardi came into her own by striking a couple of crucial kills, enabling the Lancers to close out the first set and take some confidence into the second set.
Longobardi stepped up another gear, which gave the Lancer’s offense the freedom to flourish in the second stanza. Her power, accuracy and bounding leaps generated a fistful of kills that proved to be the difference as PCC leapt to a two set lead.
Head coach Bill Sanchez felt that his team dug themselves into a hole, but he was happy that the girls found a way to win.
“We needed this win,” Sanchez said. “Sometimes we overthink things on the court and make some decisions that aren’t too good and we don’t bounce back quickly, but we’re getting a little better at it.”
The Lancers fell behind 13-15 in the third set, which forced Coach Sanchez to bring Takeuchi back into the game, which galvanized the Lancers to tighten up their defense.
Williams sneakily eased a drop shot winner over the net, which leveled the contest at 16-16. This play enhanced PCC’s focus as a unit, which created a roll-on effect that gave them the composure and control to finish off the Seahawks.
Sanchez singled out freshman Hailey Abdul-Malik, Longobardi, and Williams as players who stood out for the Lancers.
“Lahiz did pretty well, Megan actually set pretty well, made some good decisions. Hailey came off the bench and gave us some pretty nice serves and played steady,” Sanchez said.
Pasadena host undefeated conference leaders El Camino on Friday at 6 p.m.