Riverside Rides Late-Game Strength in Five Set Victory Over Cerritos

photo by Michael Leone
photo by Michael Leone

The Riverside City College women's volleyball team found themselves in a five-set thriller for the second time this season on Wednesday in a battle against the Cerritos College Falcons on the road. After facing a 2-1 deficit, the Tigers clutched up in the final two sets and hauled in a five-set victory by the final set scores reading 25-16, 23-25, 17-25, 25-21, and 15-12.

The Tigers got off to a strong start in the beginning of the match with freshman outside hitter Kiara Oregon (Riverside, CA) setting the pace by notching Riverside's opening pair of kills. Freshman outside hitter Marcella Rodriguez (Belize City, Belize) followed suit with two kills of her own. After a kill each from freshman setter Taylor Gardner (Colton, CA) and Rodriguez, the Tigers rode a messy Falcon's offense filled with multiple errors en route to a first set victory.

However, the Tigers became sloppy themselves and dropped the following two sets, forcing them to climb out of a deep hole.

The fourth set brought better play with freshman tandem Darricka Hewitt (Riverside, CA) and Lauren Dunmore (Northridge, CA) denting the deck for early-set kills. Freshman middle blocker Abeni Williams-Lowrey (Moreno Valley, CA) got in on the action with a kill, while a service ace from freshman defensive specialist Patricia Brucks (Riverside, CA) gave the Tigers and early five-point lead.

Freshman outside hitter Kyndra Jordan-Thomas (Victorville, CA) began to flex her muscles by expanding the Tigers lead with two kills after entering the contest. Rodriguez capped off the set with four kills, thus forcing a fifth set.

The fifth set was a tug-of-war as there were a total of six lead changes. Dunmore handed Riverside its first lead of the set with a kill assisted by Gardner. Dunmore followed by rising up for a block with Hewitt to extend their lead to 3-2.

The contest became tight at 10-all when Dunmore took matters into her own hands once again by giving the Tigers back the lead with a kill. From then on, Cerritos could not recover as they committed four errors to end the game, handing the Tigers a 3-2 win.

Rodriguez recorded a team-high 15 kills to go along with 16 digs. Oregon and Jordan-Thomas notched eight kills, while Hewitt followed with seven.

The Tigers utilized a two-setter system once again with freshman setter Tessie Evalu (Wildomar, CA) pacing the pack with 23 assists. Gardner was not far behind with 17.

The Tigers (4-2) continue play on the road by facing off against Santiago Canyon for their first conference contest of the season this Friday, September 15th at 6 p.m.