Recipe for victory remains elusive


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Comet right hitter Amy Palomares tips the ball over the net and Eagle middle blocker Stephanie Sandria during Contra Costa College’s loss to Laney College in Oakland on Friday.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The Comet volleyball team had its best showing of the season, but ultimately lost in straight sets against Laney College on Friday in Oakland.

Contra Costa College broke the 20-point barrier in the first set and tallied double-digit point totals in all three, losing 25-21, 25-16 and 25-12 to the Eagles (1-5 overall, 1-3 in the Bay Valley Conference).

With only six players on the active roster, lack of depth continues to be the priority plaguing CCC (0-4, 0-4 BVC) this season.

Hitting and serving is improving for the squad and scoring has also increased for CCC in each game.

“We need to recognize the strides we’ve made and build on them,” CCC outside hitter Arcenia Macedo said. “Communicating as a team on defense still is something we need to improve on.”

The Comets return to action tonight at 6 against Yuba College.

Midway through the second set, Laney began to pinpoint the Comets’ inexperience.

The Eagles exploited holes in the CCC rotations and targeted shots in the direction of newer players.

For the Eagles, the difference maker was setter Shayla Robillard. Ranked 12th in the BVC in assists (64), her 25 assists against the Comets led to every Laney player capturing three kills each.

Robillard exploited one of the Comets’ defensive communication flaws: position shifts to combat solid hitting. An officiating mix-up, forcing an undue rotation, also threw the still-gelling Comets out of rhythm.

“We try to adjust our rotations to keep newer players on the back row,” Macedo said. “In practice, we work on adjusting our range of coverage to minimize their responsibilities until they are more comfortable getting the ball back over the net.”

CCC scored as many points in the first two sets of Friday’s game as were scored in the previous three-set home loss (25-6, 25-9 and 25-12) to conference front-runner Napa Valley College on Sept. 30.

The NVC loss was the second game of a tough home stand for the Comets. The first was a hard-fought contest that ended in defeat to second-in-the-conference Los Medanos College (6-6, 4-0 BVC).

“I see playing two of the top teams early in the season as a plus for us,” Comet coach Christy Tianero said. “It gives me a clear vision of our weaknesses and allows me to find different ways to compensate for our inexperience.”

Evidence of the team beginning to gel was clear in the first set of Friday’s match at Laney. Both teams’ rosters are best described as shallow as they narrowly exceed the six athletes required to play.

Neither team was able to flood the court with fresh bodies and play became disjointed as fatigue set in for both squads.

“We came out confident with a good mindset in the first set,” CCC right side hitter Amy Palomares said. “We had an intense practice Thursday before the game and came out so pumped up at the start that we lost energy in the final sets of the match.”

Tianero agreed Thursday’s practice was tough and emphasized footwork, hitting and a more up-tempo style of play.

“They worked hard Thursday, but you can’t get all of those things down right away,” Tianero said.