The Riverside City College women's volleyball team hit the hardwood for the first time this season by taking on the San Bernardino Valley College Wolverines in non-conference play on Wednesday evening. In a display of depth and strength in numbers, the Tigers handled the Wolverines with ease in a three-set sweep with final match scores reading 25-21, 25-15, and 25-22.
The Tigers found themselves in a strong battle in the opening set with the Wolverines nipping at their heels for the majority of the set. Sophomore outside hitter Marcella Rodriguez (Belize City, Belize) notched the first point of the season off a nice assist from the graces of freshman setter Taylor Gardner (Colton, CA). From the opening point on, the Tigers traded blows until they went on a four point run highlighted by an ace from Gardner and an emphatic kill from freshman outside hitter Kyndra Jordan-Thomas (Victorville, CA) leading to a 15-8 advantage.
However, the Wolverines strung together seven-consecutive points to tie the match up at 20-all. Nevertheless, a five-point outburst from the Tigers, which included a trio of kills from Jordan-Thomas and a kill each from sophomore outside hitter Darricka Hewitt (Riverside, CA) and freshman opposite Madison Bogh (Highland, CA), lead to a 25-20 first-set victory.
The second set was all Tigers as they Edged the Wolverines by a solid 10 points, thus setting up a sweep scenario.
Riverside held a consistent five-point lead throughout the early stages of the third set as the Tigers took advantage of numerous errors from the Wolverines. An offensive rhythm formed naturally for the Tigers as play continued. Freshman outside hitter Kiara Oregon (Riverside, CA) burst on to the scene by hammering home a pair of kills to maintain the comfortable advantage.
However, the momentum drifted and the Tigers found themselves in a 21-21 tie in the third set.
The Tigers muscled up in the latter half of the set and went on a four-point spurt with kills from Jordan-Thomas and Oregon en route to a three-set sweep.
Every coaches' goal is to start the season 1-0 and Head Coach Monica Hayes-Trainer shared those sentiments.
"I am very proud of the young ladies," said Hayes-Trainer. "They performed much better in the match then I expected, because we are really a young team –we are working hard to improve and just the hitting warm-ups and the pregame drills excites me about what they can do."
It was an evenly disbursed game with numerous contributors on the floor. Jordan-Thomas notched a game-high seven kills, while three players consisting of Bogh, Rodriguez, and Oregon tallied six kills.
"The good thing about this team is that we have no dominant player and I love it. Everybody can share a spot and the attitudes are unbelievable. I want them to fight for positions, but I also want them to understand that if they are not playing at the top of their game, then somebody can step in."
Gardner was the main facilitator of the pack by dishing out 19 assists, while freshman setter Tessie Evalu (Wildomar, CA) followed with six. Freshman libero Natalie Escher (Redlands, CA) patrolled the back line for a team-high 13 digs.
The Tigers (1-0) will continue play at home on Friday, September 1st as they face off against Desert at 5 p.m. in Wheelock Gym.