THOUSAND OAKS, CA — An East Los Angeles College volleyball team rally fell just short in a 3-2 non-conference loss against the California Lutheran University junior varsity team 25-11, 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 15-12.
ELAC is a young team, sporting 11 freshmen from a 14-team roster. Sophomores Stephanie Landry (Montebello HS) and Sophia Leon (Bell Gardens HS) return to action from the 2014 season. Sophomore Angela Wade (Port of Los Angeles HS) is a transfer from the 2014 LA Harbor College squad.
The Huskies began the match with a slow start dropping the first set 25-11. First game jitters plagued the Huskies, but did not hold them back as they game back stronger in the second set.
ELAC freshmen setter Taryn Higareda (Rosemead HS) then found her groove. She dished out sets that allowed the hitters to connect. Putting the pass, set and attack together, the Huskies took an early second-set lead, 9-4.
A Cal Lutheran JV rally gave the Regals the second set win, 25-22. “It was nice to watch them (the Huskies) settle and put to practice the elements of the game,” said Walker.
ELAC freshmen middle hitter Esther Duru (Lynwood HS) led the Huskies second set power attack. She posted five kills while Landry amassed three kills and three blocks.
In the third set, the Huskies found rhythm to set things in motion for a total of 15 amassed kills, five blocks, four service aces and 16 digs.
Duru put away an angle attack to close the third set with a Huskies 25-22 win that shocked the vocal Regal fans.
The Huskies took a commanding lead in the fourth set that led to a five point 25-20 win, which set up a dramatic fifth set.
In the final set, the Huskies led 8-6 at changeover. After a 9-8 Husky lead, ELAC unforced errors put the Huskies out of their rhythm and the Regals won the set and the match.
Freshman outside hitter Julisa Leon (Orthopedic Medical Magnet HS) made a positive contribution especially during the last two sets. On the night, she had three services aces, 11 attack kills and 21 serve reception digs.
“Our middles did an excellent job attacking and blocking,” said ELAC Coach Elliott Walker. “We posted over 13 blocks.”
Freshman setter Jennifer Montes de Oca (Legacy HS) averaged 5.0 assists per set. “Her ability to step onto the floor proved that she would be a valuable asset to help carry the Huskies through the season,” said Walker. Landry added three total service aces and seven kills.
“The Huskies put up a fight. We did not start with a strong mindset (with) skills that we needed in order to put the (match) away,” said Walker.
“I am proud to see that the Huskies did not allow defeat to get them down,” said Walker. “They were resilient at putting together total game concepts; moved in and out defenses comfortably. That this happened is a testament to what we will be able to do once we solidify playing together.”
The Huskies play in the Imperial Valley College Tournament on Saturday Sept. 3, TBD.
ELAC hosts its first game of the season vs. Mt. San Jacinto College at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9.
ELAC and the Cal Lutheran JV team play a rematch in the Huskies South “E”rena Gym in three weeks on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m.
story submitted by Elliott Walker and Tadzio Garcia