Volleyball goes 1-1 over the weekend

Marissa Marshall,
Staff Writer

The women’s volleyball team traveled to Southern California over the weekend to face both California State Dominguez Hills and California State Los Angeles.

On Friday the Pioneers faced off against Dominguez (6-10 overall, 3-5 conference) but had a hard time offensively, which resulted in three disappointing losses.

Dominguez controlled the tempo for the entire game, which allowed them to sweep the Pioneers in three sets, 15-25, 20-25 and 13-25.

“This game was definitely a low of the season,” said sophomore outside hitter Kiki Leuteneker, who has ten or more kills five games in a row. “Things will never go perfect, but nothing seemed to go right for anyone in this game and it showed.”

Throughout the three sets, the Pioneers made 18 attack errors, seven service errors and ten receiving errors, which ultimately was a huge reason for their fall. The mistakes outweighed any of their good plays and Dominguez took full advantage of that. “We were not working together at all,” said sophomore middle blocker Deja Thompson. “We played as six individuals instead of as a team and if we do that, it is hard to win games.”

Leuteneker led the way in kills with ten, Thompson added eight, and outside hitter Julie Navarro added another three. Sophomore setter Katie Ireland recorded her 13th double double of the season with 19 assists and ten digs.

Despite the tough loss, the Pioneers had to focus on the game ahead, scheduled for the following day. East Bay was up against one of the top teams in the conference, California State Los Angeles (10-6, 6-2).

In the first two sets, East Bay fell to LA in two close games, losing 25-27 in the first set and 22-25 in the second set, but the Pioneers stayed optimistic and let that fuel them.

“After the second set our coaches talked to us all and told us that if we wanted this game and none of us had doubts, then we could come back,” said Leuteneker.

The Pioneers did just that. Down early in the third set, East Bay continued to fight and went on a 5-0 run, putting the game at 15-15. East Bay and LA went back and forth after that until LA gained momentum again and led the game 24-20. That did not seem to phase the Pioneers as they were determined not to lose this game.

Senior outside hitter Darlene Lee served her squad into 5 consecutive points, which gave them the 25-24 lead. LA’s outside hitter Daisy Portillo tied it back up after the 5-0 run, but the Pioneer’s sophomore middle Kathy McKiernan came right back and hit two kills in a row, giving East Bay the 27-25 win.

The fourth set was another battle between the two teams. East Bay gained a significant lead several times throughout the game, but just could not kill off the Eagles. The Pioneers were up 24-22 and looked as if they were ready to end the game, but LA’s junior setter Kelsey Molnar scored and cut the lead back down to one.

East Bay’s McKiernan became the hero again and sealed the deal for her team when her kill gave them the 25-22 win.

Thompson and Leuteneker were the huge factors in the fifth set. Thompson, who was playing near her hometown in front of her family, scored four of East Bay’s final seven points.

“I wanted to show this league, my family and everyone watching, that East Bay is a force to be reckoned with,” said Thompson. “I did not make as many plays in the previous games, but I trusted my abilities and continued to be aggressive and it worked out for the best.”

Leuteneker put the game away and gave the Pioneers the win as she hit the ball towards the back line with full force. The kill gave the Pioneers the 15-13 win, and assured them the full comeback.

“Being so close in the first and second set we all knew that we could take this team,” said Leuteneker. “It’s so easy to shut down and get inside your head with negative thoughts when you are down, but we continued to play our game. Unlike the game versus Dominguez, we played together and it earned us a victory.” The sophomore had her season high with 19 kills in the game.

The win put the women at 3-5 in conference and 7-9 overall. They will face Stanislaus State (7-0, 4-3) on Friday and Chico State (12-4, 6-1) on Saturday.