COC volleyball back in win column after defeating state-ranked LBCC

College of the Canyons sophomore Shayla Johnson goes up for the kill in a match against Long Beach College in the Cougar Cage on Wednesday night. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

Prior to Monday’s practice, College of the Canyons women’s volleyball met as a group with a handful of topics to discuss.

After losing three of their last four games, the Cougars went over what playing for COC means to each of them and how important winning the next match will be.

“It was really eye-opening and it just like, helped us to get our minds more in it because in previous games we’ve had trouble staying together,” said freshman Ricki Patenaude. “…It helped us to improve to like, actually say it and what we needed to work on.”

Canyons was able to regroup after the come-to-Jesus moment to sweep Long Beach Community College on Wednesday at College of the Canyons. The win was especially momentous as LBCC was ranked fourth in the state in the latest CCCWVCA poll.

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“Everybody that saw the floor tonight worked super hard and the bench was super supportive,” said coach Clay Timmons. “It felt good. It felt correct. It felt like it was the way we should be going about our business.”

In the first set, the Cougars (4-3 overall) mounted a lead and kept it. COC installed a 6-2 offense, which includes two setters, early in the season but struggled to execute until the match against the Vikings, who are coached by three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor.

The team scored three consecutive points to close out the frame, concluding with a kill from Patenaude.

“We thought that (5-1) worked better for a little bit just because the 6-2 wasn’t working because we had some problems,” said Patenaude. “And then finally seeing it like, click in tonight, it just felt really nice. Everything was just coming together.”

Despite some early points from the Cougars, the Vikings (5-2) were able to score six consecutive points for a 7-3 lead. But when a LBCC hit went long, COC grabbed it back at 9-8 and didn’t let go, eventually winning the set 25-20.

Canyons was first on the board in the third set, but LBCC snatched a 5-4 lead but only briefly kept it. The Cougars went on a six-point scoring run to take a 10-7 advantage.

Long Beach was able to tie it up at 20-all with an ace from Tylie Johnson, but her following serve went short and gave COC the lead once again.

Battling until the end, the Vikings won a long rally to make it 24-22, but served long to hand over the set point to Canyons for a 25-22 win and completed sweep.

“It was never really our ability to play volleyball,” Timmons said. “It was just the effort and heart into every single point and to be honest, a little bit of belief. We needed some of our freshmen to understand that they are good enough to compete against some of these teams.”

COC next plays in the El Camino College 3-way on Sept. 14.

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