Women's volleyball swept away in identity crisis

The Lady Corsair volleyball squad walked out of the gymnasium at Pierce College last Saturday empty-handed, unable to snag a victory in the taxing three-game tournament. Constantly switching players into different positions throughout the tournament, the Corsairs looked desperate to make something work and struggled to locate their identity in true "Jason Bourne" fashion.

SMC was dominated in the first match against Pasadena, getting held to under 22 points in every game of the three-set loss. A sub-par effort from the hitters produced a similar outcome in the second matchup versus Saddleback.

The opposing Gaucho blocking game was a determinant factor all match, seemingly sending back every other attempted kill.

And though players like freshman outside hitter Amelia Keeling quickly turned her performance around with hard spikes off the Gaucho blocks, SMC's performance was marked by playing catch-up to the unchanging Saddleback lead in the 14-25 loss.

Game two showed more promise with a stellar performance by sophomore Vera Hughes, who cleaned up the back line with some great first-touch passes after being moved to libero.

Freshman transfer Chelsea Thayer followed the act by providing more daylight for SMC, coming through with a huge block that gave SMC their first lead with a score of 12-11.

Unfortunately, the second match would end in a 23-25 loss, proving to be another unsatisfactory effort as the girls were unable to prepare defensively for the reoccurring Gaucho blocks.

"We're consistently inconsistent," said head coach Nicole Ryan, expressing her frustration toward the team's play.

And though the third game of the match was also a losing battle for our Lady Corsairs, the pressure was on for the Gauchos who struggled to stay alive in the face of SMC's front line heat and power defenders.

Hughes and fellow defender Megan Hauser battled on the back line to keep the Corsairs in the game despite the inconsistent offensive success.

In the end Saddleback would steal another 23-25 nail-biter, ending the match altogether.

Failure to keep formation in unfamiliar positions and the lack of effort among some of SMC's players proved thematic throughout the tournament, and led to another heartbreaking loss to Palomar in five sets in the following match.

"Some players are okay with just trying," said Coach Ryan.

However, the Lady Corsairs are far from being down and out.

With a week left until their first Conference game, the Corsairs still have time to fine-tune their game plan and establish a working lineup.

"It's all relative," said Ryan, referring to the concept of trial-and-error.

And since it holds true that defining yourself comes only through hard work, the volleyball squad is out to prove an old saying true; it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.