Comets drop second in a row to napa valley

Storm uses height to dominate CCC en route to victory


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Storm outside hitter Mariah Leal (middle left) hits the ball past Comet blockers Jacqueline Tianero and Alejandra Galvez during CCC’s 3-0 loss against Napa Valley College on Friday in the Gymnasium.

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

After a having its two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday at Columbia College, the volleyball team has lost two games in a row, this time in straight sets to Napa Valley College 25-8, 25-11 and 25-17 Friday in the Gymnasium.

A habitually slow starting team, the Comets (2-7 overall and 1-3 in the Bay Valley Conference) started the conference game in usual fashion, falling behind early and playing catch-up for the majority of the first set.

Despite strong efforts by many of the Comet players, the height of the Storm at the net proved to be too much for the home team to overcome.

“At practice we are so much better than we played today. We just have to get the first set heebee-jeebees out,” Comet outside hitter Alejandra Galvez said.

“I think we start slow to feel the other team out, but we should be doing that in the game.” CCC gets another chance to expel the heebee jeebees tonight against Los Medanos College in Pittsburg at 6 p.m.

The Storm (3-6 overall and 2-1 in the BVC) took advantage of CCC’s lack of size and intensity early, jumping out to an 11-4 lead in the first set. Seemingly rattled by Napa’s hot start, the team made costly mental mistakes, like touching the net twice in a row, that eventually led to a 25-8 first set final.

For the Comets, their best hitters are also the best blockers so as the team rotates, its help defense becomes inconsistent.

“We needed to get down low and move. We worked on everything that they did tonight in practice all week,” coach Christy Tianero said. “We’re still missing one of our best outside hitters (sophomore Deanna Craighead) due to injury, hopefully she will be cleared to play next week. That will help at the net.

Craighead was in a car accident shortly before the non-conference portion of the Comet volleyball season started.

The second set began with the Comets taking an early lead. Throughout the set, CCC was able to string together points but could not find the same consistency on defense.

Sophomore setter Amy Palomares, put together a cluster of scoring serves, but not enough to curb the Storm’s offensive outburst.

CCC dropped the second set 25-11.

Between the second and third sets, Tianero pulled aside freshman right setter Joshleen Ayson to tell her to focus on getting serves in and not on hunting for service aces if the team falls behind in the set.

Not only has CCC not beaten Napa in the past three years, the team hasn’t taken a set from the Storm over the same time-frame.

The third set was knotted early, and Ayson followed Tianero’s instructions to put all serves in play which led to an early 3-3 tie in the final set.

Mental errors continued to chip away at CCC’s chances for prosperity and although Ayson produced scores and scoring opportunities for the Comets, collectively, they could not take advantage of them.

“We would have done better if moved more, got low and stayed on our toes like coach said,” Ayson said. After being tied early, the Storm’s offense opened up and rained a deluge of shots on the CCC, eventually extending its lead to 15-7.

“In the third set we picked up our aggression and drive and played better but Napa is a good team with hard hitters,” Tianero said.

From the 15-7 mark, the Comets outscored the Storm 10-8 but eventually lost the set and the match 25-17.