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(Photo by DeeDee Jackson)
(Photo by DeeDee Jackson)

ELAC volleyball rallies to win five-set thriller

MONTEREY PARK, CA — The East Los Angeles College volleyball team, down two sets to one, stormed back winning the final two sets for a dramatic 25-21, 15-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-13 win in its home opener against non-conference rival College of the Desert.

It is the third straight year ELAC has defeated Desert in five sets. The Huskies improve to 3-2 overall while Desert drops to 2-3.

“College of the Desert has some good returning players, outstanding from last year and gave the Huskies another test of their stamina and their ability when it comes down to performance on the court,” said Walker. “We played a little different line set and the team (Huskies) responded with opening and closing well.”

SET 1: After a 1-1 tie to open the set, Desert took a 5-1 lead off two straight kills followed by two connective service aces. Desert increased its lead to 19-11 off a kill from freshman outside hitter Baylie Dashner, who ended the night with a match-high 30 kills. ELAC rallied for an 11-2 run that gave the Huskies a 22-20 lead. The Huskies outscored Desert 3-1 culminating with a set-sending kill from freshman outside hitter Makkena Ryan (Oakdale HS). ELAC took the first set, 25-21, to the loud approval of the home crowd.

SET 2: Desert stopped the ELAC momentum with a quick 3-0 lead. Down 9-4, the Huskies got the crowd back into the game with a 9-4 run of their own that culminated with a Ryan kill and a 13-13 tie. Desert ran a mixed offense, which led to a 12-2 run and a 25-15 second-set win.

SET 3: Desert kept the advantage with different mixed offenses and led 6-1 then increased the lead to 14-8. The Huskies put together a 9-3 run, which included two blocks from ELAC freshman setter Aifili Tuita'u (Cajon HS) and a tie score at 17-17. Desert responded with an 8-3 closing run and the third set win, 25-19.

SET 4: The fourth set had six ties, the latter from a Ryan kill that produced a 10-all score. The Huskies increased their lead to 17-12 off a powered blast from Tuita'u. Desert ran off a 10-5 run and the score was deadlocked at 22-all. ELAC got two quick points, the former from freshman middle hitter Kayla Dickerson, MH (Bell Gardens HS). At set point, 24-23, ELAC freshman Bela Gamboa (Downey HS) smashed a hit that wasn’t returned for the 25-23 set win.

SET 5: The Huskies reeled off three straight points from a Dickerson kill, a service ace from sophomore setter Taryn Higareda (Rosemead HS) and a block. Desert followed with three points, aided by two straight ELAC errors. The teams traded points for a 6-6 tie. ELAC put together a 5-1 run that included a block from Tuita'u and a kill from Dickerson, which put the Huskies up 11-7. Desert rallied to tie the set at 13-13. On set point at 14-13, Ryan provided the final kill that gave the Huskies the dramatic five-set win, 15-13, and the comeback win.

Ryan paced the Husky attack with 17 kills off of 28 swings (.393 hitting percentage). Freshman middle hitter Daija Walton (Perris HS) had 16 kills (.565 hitting percentage). Dickerson hit nine kills.

Tuita'u had a game-high seven of ELAC’s 15 blocked shots.

ELAC bombed 33 service aces to 13 for Desert. Two ELAC freshmen liberos each had seven, Ashley Castillo, L (Garfield HS) and Victoria Trejo (Downey HS).


story submitted by Tadzio Garcia