Youthful squad drops second straight


Xavier Johnson / The Advocate

Right side hitter Nadia Thomas (left) spikes the ball over the net in the Comets’ first game of the season against Yuba College in the Pinole Middle School Gymnasium on Sept. 18

By Xavier Johnson, Web Editor

The first week of the 2019 season for the volleyball team wasn’t too hot as the Comets opened their season 0-2 dropping straight sets to Yuba College on Wednesday and Solano Community College on Friday in the Pinole Middle School gymnasium.

CCC (0-2 overall and 0-2 in the Bay Valley Conference) entered league play with no preseason games under its belt marking Wednesday’s opener against Yuba (3-5 overall, 1-1 in the BVC) as their first time playing together in live competition this season.

The result was as expected.

In a game marred by errors and miscommunication, the Comets fell to Yuba in straight sets (25-5, 25-4, 25-4).

The match was punctuated by the Comets’ 25 errors, seven of them being service errors. In addition, the team gave up 14 service aces and were outpaced 24-5 in assists.

Part of the poor play was caused by the team’s lack of practice prior to the game. Yuba had six games leading into conference play and was clearly more in sync with each another.

“We barely had any practice,” Comet coach Christy Tianero said. “We did only get caught out of rotation once, so that’s good. Once we get more practice time as a team they’ll be OK,”

Tianero said the team didn’t compete in any preseason tournaments because, up until the semester began, the Comets had only five players.

It wasn’t until the beginning of September that the roster filled out.

“I wanted to be sure I had a roster before signing up for preseason tournaments because we didn’t want to have to drop out,” Tianero said.

Additionally, the lack of live competition further exaggerated the deficiencies of a team still acclimating to each other.

Only two members of the team, setter and floor captain Kimberly Calip and outside hitter Angel Munar, are returning from last year. The rest of the roster is new, with some having no prior volleyball experience.

Middle hitter Janna Galang had her first competitive volleyball game against Yuba, and like the rest of the team was focused on getting adjusted to new teammates and the speed of the game.

In particular, Galang said the transition from practice to a game was striking.

“We don’t know how the other school plays. In practice, we know how we all play,” Galang said.

Calip said it’s been hard adjusting to all the new players, but as captain and setter, it’s important to help her teammates get comfortable on the court and help the team succeed.

“We have a lot to work on. As a setter, it’s important to adjust to your players. They tell me how they play, so I can adjust to them,” she said.

During set two, Yuba began targeting libero Jamie Tianero after a couple errors and wayward passes. Coming out of Pinole Valley High School, the freshman player is being relied on to fill the shoes of their previous libero, Delaine Baca — one of the top liberos in the conference during her time with the Comets.

Despite the team’s debut performance, coach Tianero is confident in Jamie Tianero’s ability to bounce back and rise to the level she’s shown in practice and at PVHS.

“We rely on our libero,” the coach said. “Last year we relied a lot on Delaine (Baca). When the libero isn’t here to play, it drags the team down. (Tianero) can play much better. We need to work on the mental game and she has to be here and present in matches.”

The 0-2 Comet squad continues their season with an away game at Los Medanos College tonight and home game vs. College of Marin (3-9 overall, 0-1 BVC) Friday at the Pinole Middle School gymnasium.