By Carlos Alvarez
The East Los Angeles College volleyball team continued non-conference play with a five-set come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Saddleback College Sept. 24 in men’s gym.
In what was a back-and-forth match with over a dozen lead changes. The Huskies defeated the Gauchos 20-25, 25-19, 24-26, 25-21, 15-12.
“It wasn’t our best performance, but in the end we played as a team. Saddleback is a good team, but we stood together,” ELAC captain Eriazmin Mauries said.
With the win ELAC’s overall record moves to 5-5 and Saddleback falls to 2-3. ELAC will host the California Lutheran University junior varsity team tonight at 7 p.m. at the men’s gym.
“Volleyball is one of those sports where you can be down, but our job is to remain poised. Today was about them being in control,” ELAC Head Coach Elliott Walker said.
Early on, Saddleback was the team in control taking the first set 25-20 behind excellent play by their captain Hitomi Fujikara, who had five spikes in the match.
Fujikara was a defense specialist throughout the match while also setting up teammate Ta’lor Crandall with easy points.
ELAC responded by taking the second set 25-19, but quickly lost momentum as Saddleback took the third set 26-24 taking a two-set-to-one lead.
“Is not a good feeling being down in the match. We were nervous, but after that nerve went away we began to play our game,” Mauries said.
ELAC took the fourth set 25-21 to force a fifth and decisive set.
“Their (ELAC) defense tightened up after the third set,” Saddleback Head Coach Michelle Quon said.
“They went into more ball control and we were unable to adjust.”
ELAC went into the decisive set with the same competitive mindset and a small adjustment in their game plan. “We did not change a thing in the final set, we just ran a faster transition game from the right,” Walker said.
The small adjustment favored ELAC strikers Breanna Trujillo and Cara Mia Madott who began to attack the Saddleback defense with spikes.
With the score tied at 12-all in the fifth set, ELAC’s Angela Carrasco served three consecutive aces to give the Huskies the set and victory.
“My strength is serving, I’m kind of bad on defense so I knew I had to get these aces. I didn’t want to hear it from coach,” Carrasco said.