The return of freshman outside hitter Kiara Oregon (Riverside, CA) provided a huge spark for the Riverside City College women's volleyball team in a showdown against Imperial Valley College on Friday evening in non-conference play. After being sidelined due to injury, she came back to action and recorded a career-high 16 kills en route to a four set victory over Imperial Valley with set scores reading 18-25, 25-15, 25-22, and 25-20.
Oregon, who played in the season opening sweep over San Bernardino, made a huge statement in the second, third, and fourth sets after not being involved much in the beginning stages of the contest. After the Tigers dropped the opening set, she roared back to lead her squad with five kills in the second set to regain momentum in the match. All but one kill was assisted by freshman setter Taylor Gardner (Colton, CA).
Oregon's fourth kill of the set gave the Tigers a quick 10-2 advantage and they never looked back. Freshman opposite Madison Bogh (Highland, CA) chipped in with two-consecutive kills, followed by a whopping five kills from freshman outside hitter Marcella Rodriguez (Belize City, Belize) to cap off a second set victory.
Despite allowing Imperial Valley to grab a quick 4-1 advantage, the Tigers remained poised and went back to work in the third set. Gardner gave Riverside its first lead of the game with a drop shot kill. Freshman outside hitter Alexis Calhoun (Riverside, CA) got in on the action with two kills, backed by a hammer from freshman outside hitter Delany Beck (Riverside, CA). Rodriguez expanded the Tiger's lead to six points with a kill sandwiched by an ace from Gardner and a kill from freshman middle blocker Abheni Williams-Lowrey (Moreno Valley, CA) leading to a third set victory.
The Tigers remained hot in the fourth set despite displaying some sloppy defense. The defensive glue that held the match together came in the form of freshman libero Natalie Escher (Redlands, CA). She patrolled the backline with poise thus leading to a positive offensive swing.
Oregon recorded a massive seven kills in the fourth set to highlight the efforts. Rodriguez backed her with six kills which included the final nail in the coffin en route to a 3-1 match victory.
Oregon was the player of the game by recording a career-high and game-high 16 kills. Rodriguez followed suit with 15 kills, while Escher was money on the defensive end with 29 digs. Gardner took control of the offense with 29 assists, while freshman setter Tessie Evalu (Wildomar, CA) dished out 13 assists.
The Tigers (3-2) will continue play on Wednesday, September 13th for their first road game of the season. They will face off against Cerritos College at 6 p.m.