Editor’s note: the Aztecs beat Mesa Community College 3-0 on Sept. 29
By Ricky Gonzales
Photo by Ed Adams
After going almost three weeks without winning a match, the Pima Community College volleyball team won five matches over two days to get on track.
The Aztecs (5-14, 1-7 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) finally found the win column and then finished third in the San Diego City College Tournament on Sept. 25.
The tournament featured many of California’s junior college teams and several from Arizona.
The Aztecs went 4-1 during the one-day tournament, winning their pool. The first round was best of three games instead of the customary best of five, and the knockout round was a one-game winner-take-the-match.
“We really had to get the right mindset going,” head coach Dan Bithell said. “We had to get better each time we touched the ball. Our play elevated throughout the day.”
The Aztecs opened the day by defeating Southwestern College in two games, 26-24, 25-18. They then went three games deep with Rio Hondo College, 20-25, 25-19, 15-8 and Reedley College, 25-18, 23-25, 15-7.
The Aztecs defeated College of the Desert 25-20 in their first playoff match, but had their day end in a semifinal round loss to host San Diego, 20-25. The playoff rounds were formatted to a one-game match to 25.
“There was some pretty good competition,” Bithell said. “We had to play well to win. Some other Arizona teams had good showings as well.”
The Aztecs got their first win of the 2010 season against South Mountain Community College on Sept. 22, taking the match to five games, 3-2. The win snapped their season-opening 13-match losing streak.
Sophomore outside hitter Krista Kallish led the offense by smacking a team-high 20 kills and four aces. Sophomore middle Ashley Hamilton had four aces to go along with her 11 kills.
Freshman setter Czarina Schutt helped set up the Aztec attack as she totaled 54 assists and 14 digs in the conference win.
Sophomore libero Jessica Manley put forth great defensive effort as she led the way with 24 digs and chipped in offensively with four service aces.
“We have good momentum going forward,” Hamilton said. “It was good to come off with a few wins in San Diego.”
In the previous match on Sept. 17, the Aztecs fell 3-0 to No. 17 Glendale Community College, 22-25, 15-25 and 22-25. On the outside, Kallish was the Aztecs’ offensive leader as she put up a team-high nine kills in the loss. Hamilton showed up at the net as well, leading the PCC squad with three blocks.
“Every game we just have to get better,” Hamilton said. “We’re keeping a positive outlook moving forward.”
On Sept. 8, the PCC volleyball team lost to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, 3-0. Hamilton led the Aztec attack as she had 11 kills in the loss. Manley did her part defensively as she totaled 13 digs and three service aces. Schutt had her best performance of the early season as she had 25 assists on the night.
Overall the Aztecs are 5-14, 1-7 in conference play, and believe the newfound momentum will carry them through a stretch where six of their seven matches will be at home.
“I sure hope so,” Bithell said.
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