COC volleyball builds early lead but can’t hang on against Bakersfield College

COC volleyball's Rachel Caruthers (8) and Toni Bito (50) go for a block as Bakersfield scores the final point in a 3-2 win over the Cougars at College of the Canyons on Wednesday. Haley Sawyer/The Signal

Holding a two-set lead over Bakersfield College on Wednesday night, College of the Canyons was battling, but in control.

“We wanted to start off with a lot of energy and I think we did a very good job of that the first two games,” said sophomore Toni Bito.

“And then we struggled with the energy the last three.”

The Renegades crept closer and closer, matching points with the Cougars then going on to win the following three sets to take the match 3-2 at College of the Canyons. The result was identical to last season’s, as Bakersfield dropped the first two sets, then came back to win the remaining three.

The loss snaps an eight-game win streak for the Cougars and marks their first loss in Western State Conference South play. The Renegades remain perfect in conference play at 4-0.

COC fought back from a slight deficit, then an ace from Shayla Johnson gave the Cougars a surge of energy that fueled them to a 25-19 win.

Overcoming four deficits in the second set, Canyons made its way to a 28-26 win. Rachel Caruthers chipped in three points as the team went point-for-point in the final seven plays of the set.

MORE: No. 11 Canyons women’s volleyball sweeps Mt. SAC

“I thought we did a very good job of doing that in the beginning and I think we could’ve picked up more of what we learned throughout the game during the end,” Bito said.

Caruthers strung together several kills that helped COC to a 7-5 lead in the third set. The Cougars were able to hang on to the lead until Bakersfield’s Lanie Camarillo executed a dominant kill that changed the momentum and gave the Renegades a 14-12 advantage.

Canyons was unable to recover and dropped the set 25-19.

Camarillo continued her hot streak into the fourth set, registering three kills at opportune times to set up a 9-4 lead. Canyons was able to go on a handful of scoring runs, but none provided the points needed to gain control of the set.

“We had a good game plan I thought going in and I thought we executed it really well the first two sets and we became undisciplined and kind of went away from all those things that were working for us,” said COC coach Clay Timmons.

Bakersfield applied early pressure in the fifth set, scoring on the first play with a kill from Ryan Bayne, and never let off the gas. The Renegades finished off the Cougars 15-8.

“We need to forget about this as immediately as we can,” Timmons said. “There’s a few things that we really liked about tonight and we want to take those with us, there’s a couple things maybe to take with us to remember not to try and do anymore.”

Canyons takes a break from conference play as it heads to Moorpark for a 6 p.m. match on Friday.

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