COC volleyball ends season with memorable trip to state tournament

The College of the Canyons volleyball team switches sides of the court in between sets where they won during a home game against Antelope Valley College on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

On Monday evening, College of the Canyons volleyball coach Clay Timmons hardly had a voice. Part of it was due to a slight cold, but most of it was due to all the yelling he did at the CCCAA State Championship tournament at Solano Community College in Fairfield on Saturday.

“It was super exciting to us coaches and the girls,” Timmons said. “We drove ourselves up, we didn’t have a bus driver, so that was cool. A little bit more intimate, everybody hanging out and enjoying each other, listening to music.”

It took six hours in total for the Cougars to reach Fairfield on Friday. On Saturday, they were slated to play their first game of the tournament against Feather River College of Quincy.

COC made quick work of the Golden Eagles (26-6) in the quarterfinals with a sweep. Emily Burns led the team with 15 kills with Caroline Page following at 10 kills. Demi Dawson added 12 digs.

“We tried to gather a little bit of info on Feather River,” Timmons said. “We couldn’t find much though, looking at stats on the internet. We pieced together (a game plan) when we saw them warming up.”

Just hours later, Canyons (25-6) was preparing for the semifinal match against Irvine Valley College.

The Lasers (26-0) took the first set 25-19, but the Cougars bounced back to take the second 25-13. The teams exchanged wins in the third and fourth sets to force a fifth frame.

Irvine Valley took the set 16-14 despite an 18-kill performance from Burns, a 48-assist match from Rachel Perez and a 28-dig showing from Dawson.

“It was really just two good volleyball teams going after each other and having to make adjustments and figure it out,” said Timmons. “It was really exciting, one of the best matches we’ve played all season against the best team in the state.”

Despite the loss to the eventual state champs, Timmons was encouraged by this season’s success and optimistic for the next season.

“Hopefully it showed them that everything we did all season long, how hard we worked, it’s the right process and they can buy into that again for next year because it’s going to pay off,” he said.

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