By Eric Townsend
Photo by Ed Adams
After pulling off back-to-back road wins, the Pima Community College volleyball team hoped to finish its season strong, but instead came up empty handed after a pair of tough losses.
Pima (8-23, 3-15 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) did not qualify for the playoffs. The team had a 12-match losing streak to start the season and a seven-match losing streak in October, but the young team will be filled with veterans next year.
“This group lacks experience,” head coach Dan Bithell said. “In this conference, for us, it’s not about talent, it’s how we handle ourselves.”
Entering their match against Arizona Western College on Oct. 27, the Aztecs were coming off a two-game winning streak.
The visiting Matadors made quick work of the Aztecs, sweeping them in three straight matches. AWC won 25-21 in the first two sets, then cruised in the final set by a score of 25-14.
Freshman outside hitter Angie Banks led the Aztecs with 12 kills in the match. Freshman setter Czarina Schutt led the team with 27 assists.
“Overall, I was pleased with our match against Arizona Western,” Bithell said. “They’re just a good team that went on to win their region.”
The Aztecs went north to play Mesa Community College on Oct. 30, in what would be the final match of the season. Coming into the match, Mesa was last in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference.
Pima opened play by winning the first two sets 25-17 and 25-16. Needing to win just one more set, the Aztecs failed to capitalize.
“Hope is a powerful thing,” Bithell said. “In this tough conference, if you give a team hope, they’ll run with it.”
Pima dropped the next two sets 27-29 and 24-26, then lost the final set 10-15.
“As the season progressed, we got better,” Bithell said. “I was really pleased the last couple weeks of the season.”
Sophomore Krista Kallish was named to the All-ACCAC Team with an honorable mention nod.
The outside hitter led the team in kills with just over three per game and was second amongst the Aztecs in digs per game with an average of just over two per game.
“It’s gonna be a long road,” Bithell said. “But I think we have some good pieces coming back next year.”
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