The visiting Lancers’ bid to advance to their first California Community College Athletic Association State championship since 1995 came to a halt via two-time defending state champion Los Angeles Pierce College, which extended its amazing 63-match winning streak with a 25-16, 25-19, 25-18 win in Tuesday evening’s SoCal Regional semifinal.
“I felt that confidence and experience played a huge role in this game. We wanted this game, but we just couldn’t execute,” Pasadena City College sixth-year Coach Tammy Silva said. “We were playing a team that hadn’t lost in two years and even though we knew what they were going to do, we didn’t do well enough to stop it.”
The Brahmas did not hesitate in showcasing their 6-foot-1 stellar outside hitter Danetta Boykin, who finished with a match-high 21 kills converted on 37 total attempts.
Pasadena had remained relatively close with Pierce in the deciding third game until the Brahmas took a 18-14 lead built off three consecutive points, two via Lancers errors.
The mini run prompted a timeout from Silva, which served the Lancers as the break was followed by a Brahmas service error.
Both teams then traded points until Boykin put the Brahmas ahead, 20-16, with a kill through a Lancers double block.
The spike was followed by another kill from Boykin, again through a Lancers block attempt, which put Pierce ahead, 21-16, and eventually vaulted the home team to a 25-18 victory.
Boykin's impact was immediately felt in the first game when the Birmingham High product nearly outhit the Lancers, as she finished with 10 kills versus 11 overall for Pasadena.
In that game, Pierce broke open a 16-13 lead thanks to a 6-1 run fueled by two kills from Boykin and two Lancers attacking errors.
“Against someone who leaps that high, it’s tough to defend,” Silva said of Boykin. “I do think there were some balls that could have been dug that we just let drop and that’s disappointing.”
The Lancers were most competitive in the second game, due in part to a mid-game rally in which the team rallied from a 17-12 deficit with a 4-0 run consisting of two kills and a block from Megan Callen and a kill from Noralia To’omalatai that brought the visitors within a point.
“We looked a little bit scared coming into the match and didn’t have too many strong points like that,” said To’omalatai, who finished with six kills and five digs.
Yet, down only 17-16, the Lancers surrendered a 4-1 run, which included a pair of aces from Brittani Elser, to fall behind, 21-17, and never rally.
“I don’t think Pierce was that difficult; I just don’t think we did enough,” Lancers opposite hitter Yanise Joseph said. “It’s sad to lose, but you can’t let one game decide your season. We still had a great year.”
Sophomores Viridiana Gallardo and Jackie Valle-Acosta tied for the Lancers’ team lead with eight kills apiece, while setter Kailey Faust finished with 29 assists and libero Jennifer Estrada tallied seven digs.