The women’s volleyball team finally broke a four-game losing streak, but more importantly their win in straight sets over LA Trade Tech enabled sophomore’s Megan Williams and Sabrina Takeuchi to taste victory in their final home game in a Lancers uniform.
In a touching and memorable gesture, the Lancers presented Williams and Takeuchi with roses and a bouquet of flowers prior to the playing of the national anthem as the sophomores held their arms around each other.
Freshman Lahiz Longobardi praised her team for it’s application, which helped to produce a memorable sendoff to Williams and Takeuchi.
“The energy from the girls on the court was great and helped us to give our sophomores a gift,” Longobardi said.
The Lancers surged out to a 9-3 lead courtesy of some consistent serving by freshman Michelle Boyd, who held five consecutive serves mainly due to several potent kills from strike weapon Longobardi, also known as “Rio” to her teammates.
The lead was short lived, as PCC reverted back to old habits by allowing the Beavers to draw level at 9-9 because of some tentative play, sloppy errors and misdirected offense. Play was also halted for several minutes due to a scoreboard malfunction, which prevented the Lancers from building on their early momentum.
Pasadena was able to shake off this concentration lapse by closing out the first set, thanks to Longobardi reeling off a handful of unreturnable kills and freshman Chy’annea Hodges chipping in with a couple of kills and an eye-catching block from the Beaver’s searing kill attempt.
Libero Takeuchi heaped accolades on Longobardi for her starring role in the team’s fourth conference victory and felt that a couple of team talks helped them to overcome a four-game losing streak.
“Rio stood out tonight, she didn’t miss a kill,” Taekuchi said. “We spoke about why we give away leads and what we needed to do to player better.”
Longobardi hit top gear in the second stanza with some explosive hitting, soaring jumps and crafty precision that strong armed Trade Tech into submitting the set. The Brazilian-born outside hitter put on a kill-exhibition by producing an unstoppable roll of six consecutive winners. It wasn’t all pounding power from Longobardi, as she also showed some rare finesse by catching the Beavers’ defense by surprise with a well-placed drop shot. Fittingly, “Rio” sewed up the set with a blazing kill.
Setter Williams played a crucial supporting role with 42 assists as she orchestrated countless opportunities for Longobardi, who dominated with 26 kills. Hodges aided her side with 12 kills.
Williams flew under the radar for the Lancers by producing a steady serving performance and also stalked the net with authority by reading the Beaver’s play.
Head coach Bill Sanchez felt that his team’s experience and Longobardi’s hitting were the difference in the win over Trade Tech.
“I think we have a little more experience than them and fortunately for us they’re not the greatest blocking team. Lahiz is a really good hitter and she had a couple of nice rolls,” Sanchez said.
“You get a hitter like Lahiz, you get them hot a little bit then they feel like King Kong and they can take on the world,” added Sanchez.
The Lancers move to 4-7 in conference play.