Canyons volleyball stunned by Pasadena City comeback  

Ariana Vargas (18) of College of the Canyons puts a shot over the net against Pasadena City College defender Reese Roper (15) at COC on Wednesday, 091422. Dan Watson/the Signal

No. 8 Pasadena City College women’s volleyball (9-2) avenged their playoff loss last season to No. 14 Canyons (5-5) in their five-set victory on Wednesday at College of the Canyons. 

PCC went down hard in the first two sets but found a way to stun the Cougars in the third, fourth and fifth sets.  

The Lancers won with scores of 15-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-13 and 25-12.  

PCC remains red-hot and now boosts their win streak to seven matches while COC has now dropped four of their last five, including three five-set losses. 

Opposite hitter Aly Grodell would lead the Cougars in their 10th match of the season but just their second at home. 

“We started out really good,” said Grodell. “We were prepped for this match, we really wanted it. Then the third set happened and we just dipped.”  

Aly Grodell (15) of College of the Canyons puta a shot over thenet against Pasadena City College defenders at COC on Wednesday, 091422. Dan Watson/the Signal

Grodell ended her night with 18 kills.  

COC’s serving kept PCC off balance. Tons of Lancer bad passes led to free balls and easy points for the Cougars.  

Cougars setter Jordan Nunez registered two of her three aces in the first set. The setter ended her night with 31 assists. 

The Cougars’ serving and dominant hitting kept the Lancers at bay and COC would pull away.  

PCC made the right adjustments and played a much tighter second set. The Cougars were able to maintain a small lead for most of the set but timely dumps from Lancer setter Bia Silva kept the team alive. The Lancer offense would start clicking when they needed to as they managed to tie the set at 20-20.  

However, consecutive kills from Grodell erased any chance of PCC stealing the set.  

The Lancers had their best fight with their backs up against the wall. The Lancers played around with a small lead for most of the third set eventually leading to their largest lead of the game up 18-13. The Cougars did what they could but everything began clicking on the net for PCC, which finally pulled away with a set. The visitors even pulled away in a long rally in which Grodell had four swings but the Lancers’ adjustments were apparent.  

“We gave Pasadena a ton of credit,” said COC co-head coach Clay Timmons. “They made adjustments after the first two sets that we won and disrupted us.” 

College of the Canyons teammates celebrate as they win the second set against Pasadena City College at COC on Wednesday, 091422. Dan Watson/the Signal

Even with Silva having consecutive dumps called back, the offense stayed in rhythm. COC would serve out of bounds, ending the set and sparking the Lancer comeback. 

PCC absolutely steamrolled Canyons in the fourth set, completely catching a team that was just up 2-0 off guard. The Lancers made tight adjustments on defense and blocked or dug nearly everything Grodell touched. 

PCC rocked every bit of momentum on their way to as much as a 21-5 lead in the fourth, leading COC into its third five-set match this year.  

The Cougars were out of rotation for their first point and although they played a much tighter set, they could never take the lead. The game would end on a miscommunication after a great pass on the first touch hit the ground. 

Canyons came out firing and made PCC look unworthy of playing on their court. However, great adjustments by the Lancers showed why they’re a top-ranked squad. 

“In the first and second set, our offense fluidity was better and that cohesion was a little better,” said Timmons. “The way we win matches is we control our side of the court. We try to be the better team on our first contact of the ball. I liked that in the first and second but that kind of changed for the rest of the match.” 

COC has a lot to build off of with a long season left in front of the team. The attack is fluid and runs through multiple hitters and setters in the 6-2 offense. Sophomores Sahliyah Ravare and Brianna Botello finished with seven kills. Ravare was also an anchor in the middle with six blocks. 

College of the Canyons teammates Ariana Vargas (18) and Brianna Botello (8) go low to return at shot by Pasadena City College at COC on Wednesday, 091422. Dan Watson/the Signal

The offense will only grow stronger when pin hitter Kaelyn White returns to the team. White’s absence due to injury has pulled Grodell off the middle spot over to the right side for the last few games. 

The team is also deep on defense and featured three different liberos throughout the game.  

The Cougars will be back in action on Friday when they host No. 2 Ventura at 6 p.m. 

Jacqueline Ibarra (31) of College of the Canyons puts a shot over the net against Pasadena City College defender Emma Yogan (16) at COC on Wednesday, 091422. Dan Watson/the Signal

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