Behind 15 team aces and a huge overall effort from Caroline Page, the No. 6 ranked Cougars rolled to a straight set win over visiting Ventura College in the opening match of the College of the Canyons Tri-Tourney. Set scores were 25-18, 25-11, 25-16.
"I think the whole team worked really hard and we were disciplined," Page said. "We got into a few ruts but we were able to get out of it. [Rachel] was amazing today. She was able to put me into a lot of one-on-one situations when they were double blocking Emily Burns, and that helped a lot."
Burns echoed that sentiment.
"Rachel did a really good job of spreading the ball out to the hitters which allowed our middles to be up and get a lot of kills," said Burns. "It allowed our outsides to be one-on-one."
Set one was a game of runs with the Cougars using a 4-0 run and a 6-0 run to open an 11-4 lead with Burns contributing three kills and two aces.
The Pirates (7-3) were able to make a run of their own, closing the lead to two behind the strong serving of Danielle Garcia. However, COC freshman Toni Bido crushed an overpass to the floor and momentum was one again firmly in favor of the home team. Canyons closed out the set on a 6-1 run, finishing it off on an ace from Page.
Set two was more of the same with Burns collecting four early kills and an ace. The lead swelled to 11-4 on an off-speed kill from Page which forced a timeout from the Pirates. The run reached 9-0 behind the strong serving of Shayla Johnson as she collected two aces. Bido closed out the dominating set with a huge kill from the middle.
Set three was all about the Pirates early on as they capitalized on strong serving and multiple errors from the Cougars to open a 9-6 lead, forcing a timeout from COC head coach Clay Timmons.
The timeout completely flipped the momentum of the set, as the Cougars then went on a 14-2 with Johnson serving up three more aces. Perez fired two of her, and Page collected four kills. Bido closed out the set and match with a kill from the middle.
"We've been able to control the ball a little bit better than the opponent," said Timmons. "But we can absolutely execute our game plan more consistently and we will definitely look to do that against Mira Costa."
Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
— Brandon Johnson/COC Sports Information
—Photo credit Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information