No. 14 College of the Canyons used a strong effort from the service line to defeat visiting No. 17 Moorpark College 3-0 at the Cougar Cage on Friday night. Set scores were 25-21, 25-23, and 25-20.
In total, the Cougars (13-4) collected 13 aces, three each from Valencia High School grads Emily Burns, Demi Dawson, and Rachel Perez. Burns also led the offense with 13 kills while Perez dished out 35 assists.
"We have been working on some very technical things lately, and I am forcing the girls to try and implement and execute those things in our recent matches," said COC head coach Clay Timmons. "Understandably, they will make mistakes in that learning process, so our resolve and fight to come from behind and win in three is really a positive thing to see, especially against a solid Moorpark team."
In set one, an ace from Moorpark's Carly Morlan opened up an early three point lead for the Raiders. The Cougars then rallied with a 5-0 run behind the strong serving of Burns to take back the lead at 7-5. That lead soon swelled to five with Perez at the service line, forcing a timeout from the Raiders. The timeout brought some momentum back to Moorpark as the Raiders closed the lead to two before COC's Shayla Johnson finally stopped the run. The Cougars reached 20 first on a net violation from Moorpark and never looked back, finishing the set on a Moorpark service error
Strong serving from Caroline Page, including back-to-back aces, opened up an early 5-1 lead early in set two for COC. The Raiders fought back, tying the score at 11, and forcing a timeout from the Cougars. The set remained close until Demi Dawson stepped back to serve for Canyons. Three serves later and the Cougars had regained a two point lead, prompting Moorpark to call a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Raiders were able to tie the score, putting the pressure back on COC. However, Bito took over for the Cougars. A solo block followed by a smash down the middle helped COC open up a four point lead. But the set was far from over as the Raiders rallied yet again to cut the lead to one, forcing Timmons to call his final timeout. The Raiders were able to tie the score once again, but a kill from Bito gave the Cougars the lead back, and COC closed out the tight set on a double block from Perez and Morgan Ferguson.
The Raiders opened up an early 3-0 advantage in set three, then pushed the score to 8-3 on back-to-back blocks. The Cougars rallied though, closing the lead to three on a thunderous swing from Burns. The rally continued for the Cougars as Dawson collected an ace and Johnson chipped in with two kills. But the Raiders were able to grow the lead back to three on back-to-back hitting errors from the Cougars, forcing a timeout from COC. As was the case all night long, the Cougars kept the pressure on from the service line, this time with Perez serving. She ran off five straight points, accumulating two aces in the process, as the Cougars opened a three point lead, forcing a Moorpark timeout. At that point, the rest of the set was all about the Cougars. Burns fired a missile from the outside then teamed up with Morgan Ferguson for a huge double block. In fitting fashion, the match ended from the service line as a Burns' ace finished off the sweep.
Canyons will return to action on Wednesday, Oct. 11, when the Cougars open Western State Conference (WSC) play against West L.A. First serve is set for 6 p.m. in the Cougar Cage.
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