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photo by Tadzio Garcia
photo by Tadzio Garcia

Husky volleyball loses two at home

MONTEREY PARK, CA — The East Los Angeles College volleyball team hosted the first of two round-robin tournaments losing to Glendale Community College in five sets and to Mira Costa College, 3-0, last night.

ELAC couldn’t stop a pesky Glendale team and was upset 32-30, 25-21, 13-25, 21-25, 16-14.

 After a short break, ELAC lost to undefeated Mira Costa 25-18, 25-14, 25-18.
“Despite the results, we kept up our energy throughout the night,” said ELAC freshman defensive specialist Alexis Diaz (LA Mendez High School). “We played hard, met the pressure of the home crowd, but we have to learn how to stay consistent.”
Against Glendale, the Huskies played with good ball control on both defense and offense. ELAC only averaged 2.6 errors per set.

“We gave that game away because we were not consistent when we needed to be,” said ELAC sophomore middle blocker Jacquii Torres (La Puente HS).

Glendale hit in the seams when on attack. They also hit surprise dumps, which led to some Husky shanks.
After being down two-sets-to-love, ELAC adjusted on defense and became a different team such as reacting quickly to tipped shots.

“We came back after losing two sets to regain to fight,” said ELAC Head Coach Elliott Walker. “(ELAC sophomore outside hitter) Breanna Trujillo (Montebello HS) rose to the occasion, (Diaz’s) passing was consistent and (freshman right side hitter) Clarissa Ruiz (Bell Gardens HS) made plays that were beneficial.”

Game five was anyone’s game as the lead changed several times. Down 13-14, ELAC staved off match point, but a Glendale rally gave the Vaqueros a 16-14 set win and the match. 

“We got inside our own heads in this game. If we take anything from this loss it’s to keep our energy up at all time,” said Diaz.

Trujillo led the Huskies against Glendale with 26 kills, 11 digs and three service aces. Trujillo averaged 5.2 kills per set, better than her 4.5 season average, which is 4th-best in the state.

Other Husky standouts against Glendale included sophomore outside hitter Alex Salzar (Mark Keppel HS)  who aced 18 kills and nine digs, sophomore setter Ashley Winet (L.A. Wilson High School) who recorded six kills and five digs and sophomore middle hitter Yekaterina Makarova (Almaty, Kazakhstan Military School of Sport HS) who had six kills and four digs.

Against Mira Costa, Trujillo smashed a kill for a 13-12 Husky lead, sparking a first set rally that increased to a two-point lead, 18-16. The Spartans answered with a rally of their own to pull ahead 23-16.

Down seven points, Makarova bumped her lips into a teammate when three Huskies jumped for an incoming smash at the same time. Despite brief tears, she stayed in the game. 

“It hurt, but if you can do your job, you do it,” said Makarova. ELAC then scored two points before losing the first set.

A Spartan rally closed the third set as well. The Huskies were in the set until the last several points. “We need to learn how to sustain constant game flow,” said Walker after the loss.

Salazar led the Huskies against Mira Costa with 10 kills and seven digs. 

ELAC, 2- 3 overall after five tournament games in two days (Sept. 5 and 9), has been in in every game. 

However, “Volleyball in this community is not fundamentally sound. It doesn’t have a base to prepare (players) at this level (other than high school) such as club programs,” said Walker. “So there is a different game IQ that we need to learn.”

Some communities such as teams we played last night, know from club program experience how to play the game at a different level, a different IQ. ELAC’s opponents on Sept. 9, took advantage of more opportunities. “Our IQ is learning how to play the game,” said Walker.

The team will improve, “Once we establish rhythm with consistent ball control,” said Walker.

ELAC will host one more tournament on Friday Sept. 25 also in the South Gym playing Cerro Coso and San Bernardino Valley colleges.

story submitted by Tadzio Garcia