Lady Corsairs Lose Third Pre-Season Game, But Keep Up Hopes For Season

By Orit Cohen
Corsair Staff Writer

The Santa Monica College women's volleyball team lost their home game on Thursday, Sept. 11, to the Cypress Chargers after losing three consecutive sets 25-12, 25-33, 25-14.
"We're learning and growing," said Head Coach Nicole Ryan. "I'm not worried. I'm not expecting miracles, I'm just expecting the that team works hard and gets better after every game."
Cypress took quick lead of the first set, getting Corsair captain Rebecca Chase pumped up and shouting out, "right here ladies, pick it up." Immediately after Kristine Gonzales of SMC slammed the ball into the net, giving another point to the Chargers, bringing the score to 8-2. Kashelle Wilkerson then attempted to set the ball up for her teammate Shelley Yang, but it slipped out of her fingers and landed on the shiny hardwood floor of Corsair Stadium.
On the Corsair side there were many players slipping and diving. Alexandria Rudolph and Yang almost knocked into each other, but were swift enough to clear the ball over the net and get another point for SMC.
The ball continued to get trapped in the net again and again on the Corsair's side. While hitting aces gave the Chargers point after point, until they finally served the ball out of bounds.
Coach could be heard on the sidelines slowly encouraging her team: "Take your time ladies, take your time."
Wilkerson then came in with a kill, giving SMC a point and finally getting them into the double digits, upping the score to 21-10. Yang hit another ace, but it was not enough for the Corsairs, as they lost the first set 25-12.
As the second match began, it was obvious the Lady Corsairs were ready to put up a fight. They received the first point of the match with hopes to only improve. However, the lack of communication had two girls going for the ball at the same time, which inevitably ended up in a pile of limbs and ball on the ground.
The second match was much cleaner, with both Corsairs and Chargers keeping up with each other point for point. The score went from 2-2 to 3-3 to 4-4 within seconds of each other. Corsairs had the lead at 6-5, but then hit the ball into the net, evening out the score for the Chargers. Luck was on the Corsairs' side, as the Chargers matched them and hit their own ball into the net, giving SMC a 7-6 lead.
Due to some miscommunication issues on the Chargers' side, The Corsairs got the first two-point lead of the match, 11-9.
The crowd began to get wild, jumping up and down, screaming and cheering their fellow Corsairs on, even as the score began to dwindle. At 17-15 lead for the Chargers, the Corsairs took a timeout and came back revamped, tying up the score 17-17 with 20 seconds, and then getting in the lead 19-17 within one minute.
But no matter how much energy they put in, the Lady Corsairs still lost the second set 25-23.
The first point of the third set went to the Lady Chargers, but Chase was on top of them and quickly got the Lady Corsairs their first point.
A serve by the Chargers was too powerful for Christa Czer to grab as it slipped out of her hand, making the score 11-5 in favor of the Chargers as Coach Ryan called another time out.
During the break fans got so excited, they ripped off their shirts which warranted an announcement: "All fans in the pavilion, like the sign at McDonalds says: no shoes, no shirt, no service." But this did not die the crowd down one bit; they were pumped and keyed up, even with SMC losing.
They came back from timeout with a serve by the Lady Corsairs that had the ball sliding just over the net and slammed into the ground before the Lady Chargers could even touch it. Wilkerson was set up beautifully by her teammates, as she powerfully spiked the ball into the ground, giving another point to SMC.
The Chargers kept up their lead and after they took two more points Wilkerson worked her magic and just slammed the ball into the other side as if telling the Chargers to "shut up."
A serve by Rudolph threw the Chargers into confusion, hitting the ball into the net and getting another point for SMC. But then an illegal set by the Lady Corsairs gave the Chargers another point, getting them up to 20, while SMC was still at 14. The Lady Corsairs lost the final set 25-14.
"The game really sucked, we should have won," said Wilkerson. "This is just a little set back right here. I'm happy about this season, we'll do good."
Yang was also upset with the loss,: "We could have picked up more balls," she said. "We weren't playing smart. The team is there, we'll get it next time."
Chase was disappointed because she was not feeling well, and unable to make as much noise as is usually expected of the captain.
"When I'm not on top of my game, the whole team is affected," she said. "The good news is that it's the worst we can possibly play and we got it out of our system so it won't happen again."