By Bryce Ronquillo
The volleyball team won its South Coast Conference home opener in four sets (21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23) against rival Long Beach City College (SCC 0-2, 2-10) on Wednesday at home.
ELAC struggled during the first set, but in the next three were able to grind out victories with a combination of strong serving and defensive strategy.
“It all started in practice, we were really focused on what we needed to do defensively,” said sophomore outside hitter Ashley Winet. “We had so much confidence on the floor tonight. We changed to a certain defense and it worked the way we wanted it to.”
Five Huskies were in double figures in digs throughout the game. Leading the way was sophomore outside hitter Breanna Trujillo with 22 digs. Trujillo also added 23 kills and two serving aces.
Winet had seven kills on the night and nine digs.
ELAC opened the fourth set with a series of good serves from both Winet and freshman defensive specialist Destanee Cortez. Trujillo followed up by scoring six of the Husky’s 14 points.
“We focus a lot on serving during practice,” said Cortez. “I think serving is very important. I was able to give 10 good serves and change the game around.”
The impact player for the Huskies was Freshman setter Vanessa Peralta, who had a career high 21 digs and 40 assists, six short of her career high.
Winet credits the offensive success to better teamwork between Peralta and the hitters.
“We have been able to trust each other more. I believe our team is getting much better with our hitting both in the front and back row. We are just gelling together, we can trust that the set is going to be there and if we get blocked our teammates will have our backs,” said Winet.
Then on the following Friday, ELAC lost its second game in South Coast Conference play to second ranked Mt. San Antonio College (SCC 3-0, 8-3) in 3 sets (25-15, 25-14, 25-23).
ELAC put a together a good defensive game against Mt. SAC, yet struggles on the offensive end. This is uncharacteristic of ELAC, which had an impressive offensive night against Long Beach City College last Wednesday.
Mt. SAC freshman defensive specialist Alexandria Peterson had 23 of the team’s 76 digs against the Huskies.
“The inconsistency goes to the lack of experience. It’s breaking routine. We have to be flexible to making adjustments. That could be our biggest downfall if we do not open our minds to playing teams that present a different challenge,” said head coach Elliott Walker.
Freshman setter Vanessa Peralta said the team’s offensive struggle was due to failure of executing the game plan.
“That’s exactly what it was,” said Walker referring to Peralta’s statement. “They did not play the offensive strategy we designed coming into this competitive game.”
The third set the Huskies were able to make the game more competitive against Mt. SAC. According to Walker, his team made a defensive adjustment and executed the game plan.
“In the third set once we got into our offensive, they (Mt. SAC) fell apart. They had no way of figuring out how to defend us,” said Walker.
Six of Breanna Trujillo’s 11 kills came in the third set after the adjustments were made.
The Huskies were down 24-20 in that set. ELAC pulled together to tie the game at 24-24 and forced a Mt. SAC timeout. Mt. SAC’s freshman outside hitter Haley English then had a kill to end the game.
“The first two sets were a result of a little selfishness on behalf of our athletes not executing the game plan,” said Walker. “One of the elements we lacked today was the confidence that we could beat them and believing in the offense even though we had a missing player.”
Sophomore middle blocker Jacqueline Torres was not at the game. Freshman defensive specialist Alexis Diaz filled that spot. “I was ready to play. Our coach trains us to play different positions and be utility players,” said Diaz.
Diaz had one kill in the third set that impacted the game.
Another impact player was sophomore defensive specialist Jessica Nunez, who had a season high 13 digs on the night. “I was calm. I feel very accomplished. I came on the floor tonight with the attitude that I was going to dig every ball they hit at me,” said Nunez.
The Huskies will play home this Friday against Cerritos College (SCC 2-1, 9-7) at 6 p.m.