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East Los Angeles College freshman outside hitter Bella Gamboa will hit a kill that will score down the line in a 3-1 set win vs. Santa Monica. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)
East Los Angeles College freshman outside hitter Bella Gamboa will hit a kill that will score down the line in a 3-1 set win vs. Santa Monica. (Photo by Tadzio Garcia)

Huskies split two matches in own tournament

MONTEREY PARK, CA — The East Los Angeles College Huskies volleyball team defeated Santa Monica College 3-1 then lost to undefeated San Diego City College 3-0 in their fourth ELAC Quad mini tournament in three years.  

San Diego (5-0) beat the California Lutheran University JV team, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-12). In the nightcap, Santa Monica (2-3) defeated the Regals, 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 36-34).

Against Santa Monica, ELAC won, 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 16-25, 25-19).  ELAC had 52 kills to 39 for Santa Monica. A trio of freshmen led the attack with 41 of ELAC’s 52 kills. Freshman outside hitter Bela Gamboa (Downey High School) had 15, freshman middle hitter Kayla Dickerson (Bell Gardens HS) had 14 and freshman outside hitter Makkena Ryan (Oakdale HS) had 12.

ELAC freshman middle hitter Daija Walton (Perris HS) had a game-high seven blocked shots.

“Santa Monica is a good team. They were very solid in their pass attack,” said ELAC head coach Elliott Walker. “Our girls fought with a couple of adjustments attacking-wise and defensive-wise, which threw Santa Monica off. We were able to prevail in that respect.”

Set 1: The Huskies won the first set, 25-18. 

Set 2: After taking the first set, 25-18, the Huskies carried their momentum into the second set. After a third tie at 14-14, ELAC went on a 5-1 run that culminated with a block from Dickerson followed by a kill from Gamboa. Santa Monica pulled within one point, 19-18, with a big smack. ELAC closed the set on an 6-2 run that included kills from Dickerson, freshman setter Aifili Tuita'u (Cajon HS) and Ryan. ELAC won 25-20.

Set 3: The teams opened the fourth set with a 4-4 tie, which included three straight service errors from the Huskies. The Vikings led 8-5 after a fourth service error by ELAC and continued to build on their lead, which led to a 25-16 Viking win. The Huskies gave away five points from five service errors.

Set 4: Down 4-5, the Huskies put together an 11-2 run that finished with a block from Gamboa for a 15-7 ELAC lead. The Vikings chipped at the lead and pulled to within one point, 20-19. ELAC closed out the set with a 5-0 run, which included three kills and two blocks from Dickerson for the game, set and match win.

The Huskies read each other with no look plays.

“Four of our (ELAC) freshmen are good friends and that has helped good chemistry,” said Walker. “They’re young and impressionable not coming in with a pre-determined mind and really open to learning. Their learning curve is high.”

Against San Diego, the Huskies faced a team that shot from all over the court. ELAC was outshot in kills, 36-27. Ryan led the Huskies with nine kills; Walton had seven.

“San Diego runs a highly advanced team with a multiple offense where their hitters are all over the floor,” said Walker. “They gave us a chance to understand how not to just defend a player but to defend a zone.”

“That forced us (ELAC) to move in and out of various defenses to break their comfort zone. The girls began to fight with that because they were looking for a static performance,” said Walker. “When we’re playing highly competitive teams our games are going to adjust. There is hope because ELAC is young with experience and has made some really good adjustments. Their game is really prospering now.”

The Huskies face the Cal Lutheran JV team on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. The teams have met eight times in the last four years. Cal Lutheran holds a 6-2 lead in the series.



story submitted by Tadzio Garcia