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Canyons Drops First Round Playoff Match

College of the Canyons women's volleyball dropped its first round playoff matchup to San Diego Mesa College on Nov. 20, 2018. Jacob Velarde/COC Sports Information

By Brandon Johnson/COC Sports Information

After dropping the first two sets of home opening round playoff match, College of the Canyons mounted a ferocious rally against visiting San Diego Mesa College to send the match to a deciding fifth set. But in the end, the Olympians pulled out a spirited final set decision to advance to round two, and send the hosts home with an early postseason exit. Set scores were 26-28, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, 7-15.

Rachel Caruthers and Shayla Johnson led the offense with 13 kills, while Elizabeth Gannon paced the defense with 20 digs. Grace Ferguson, who was recently named an AVCA third-team All-American, chipped in 10 kills and four digs.

Raven Casas and Zoe Tippetts formed a two-headed attacking monster for San Diego Mesa, racking up 28 and 24 kills respectively.

The early postseason loss was the culmination of an up and down season for the Cougars, one year removed from a semifinal appearance in the state tournament. The 2018 season saw the Cougars defeat El Camino College and Long Beach Community College, two of the top teams in the state.

"When I look back on this season, I feel very proud of what the players accomplished," coach Clay Timmons reflected. "Having a few days to reflect on everything that went into the season, I can really feel nothing but pride and appreciation for this team."

However, the Cougars also suffered heart-breaking five set losses to Grossmont College and Bakersfield College, in route to an 18-8 regular season record and a second-place finish in the Western State Conference, South Division. 

The Cougars see sophomores Johnson, Toni Bito, and Ciera McGuinness move on this offseason, but will return a strong core that will look to improve upon this year's results.

"To put together a season like this with so many freshmen playing key roles, you have to really admire their effort and work ethic," Timmons continued. "Literally a couple of points the other way in a few matches would have completely changed how our season played out." 

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. 

— Photo by Jacob Velarde/COC Sports Information.

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