By BETO HOYOS
The Pima Community College volleyball team opened conference play with a thrilling win and a disappointing loss. The loss came during their first home match on Aug. 29 against South Mountain Community College.
The Aztecs lost in three sets and had a hard time finding any momentum against a strong defense. “They’re a tough team,” head coach Dan Bithell said. “They’re more physical than a couple of the teams we’ve played so far.”
Bithell said his Aztecs are talented but the team wasn’t playing to its capabilities. “Maybe there were some jitters for the first home match or something like that but we weren’t in any sort of rhythm as a group,” he said. He’s confident the team will keep improving, and will be better prepared for the next meeting against South Mountain. “It’s a long season,” he said. “We’ll meet up with these guys again and hopefully we’ll have a better game plan.”
Sophomores Nykole Adun and Kaysee Pilgrim each finished with eight kills. Sophomore Liz Mata had 23 assists.
The win came Aug. 27 when Pima opened conference play in Thatcher against Eastern Arizona College. Pima dropped two early sets and had to fight back. Eastern brought out its entire arsenal but the Aztecs kept their composure.
“It was a great team effort,” Bithell said. “We had to make constant adjustments and everyone had great contributions.”
The win helped boost team confidence. “I think the team is amazing,” freshman Mariah Rodriguez said. “We’ve bonded and connected on many levels.” Freshman Brooklyn Scarborough predicted the Aztecs will wins lots of games. “I think we’re going to be pretty good,” she said.
The Aztecs were scheduled to play Phoenix College on Sept. 3. The match took place after Aztec Press went to the printer. Pima opened its season on Aug. 22-23 at the New Mexico Military Institute Classic in Roswell. In the opening match against Yavapai College, the Aztecs won the first set but dropped the next three. In the second match, Pima defeated Air Force Prep (Colorado) in three sets.
On the second day of the tournament, the Aztecs won a match against Odessa College (Texas). They dropped the first set but came back to take three straight. In the final match, the Aztecs faced host NMMI. They could not muster enough energy to stay with their opponent and tasted defeat in three sets.
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