College of the Canyons volleyball coach Clay Timmons has a long, flowing beard. Most of his players are pretty critical of the facial hair, so Timmons decided to use it as motivation.
“If they win the conference,” Timmons said, “they get to chop it off.”
The Cougars might be getting their scissors ready soon, as they’ve already swept in the three opening games in Western State Conference South play, most recently against L.A. Mission College on Wednesday night at COC.
Canyons, which is ranked fifth in the state according to the latest California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association poll, earned a quick 25-15 win in the first set and had minimal trouble in the following set.
The team jumped out to a 9-0 lead before the Eagles dented the scoreboard. L.A. Mission committed a cluster of errors, giving Valencia grad Emily Burns the freedom to execute kills at will.
Burns capped the set with a kill to set the final score to 15-11.
She’s one of four Valencia volleyball products on the team, which makes for seamless communication and chemistry.
“It’s really easy, especially because our setter Rachel (Perez), I’ve been playing with her literally since I started volleyball, so she’s always been my setter,” Burns said. “It’s really easy to communicate with her and we just click well together.”
A 25-20 win in the third set completed the sweep. COC (16-4 overall, 3-0 in WSC South) held a four-point lead for the majority of the match and carried away the win on a Toni Bido tip and an L.A. Mission net violation.
Burns ended the night with 16 kills and four blocks. Shayla Johnson and Bido had eight and seven kills, respectively, and Perez had 32 assists and five aces. Demi Dawson added 11 digs.
The Cougars are hoping to channel some momentum from the trio of wins on Friday when they face Bakersfield, the No. 4 team in the state according to the CCWVCA polls.
“They’re probably our toughest competition,” Burns said. “We played them earlier and we were able to beat them, so we’ll see how they’ve grown and how we’ve grown and see what happens.”