Victory Escapes Lady Corsairs After Being Up Two Sets

By Teddy Leshnick
Corsair Staff Writer

The 0-5 Santa Monica Corsairs faced off with the 0-3 Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros in a game that looked like it was going to be an obvious Corsair victory, but turned into a five game battle on Tuesday, Sept. 16.

The Corsairs won their first two games, but it wasn't easy. Neither team could score more than one or two points in a row until about mid-game. The Corsairs gained momentum at point 15 because of a Vaqueros formation violation that started a 5-0 streak. However, the Vaqueros battled back to tie the score at 25-25, forcing extra points. Luckily, Vaqueros' Nicole McCracken hit the ball out of bounds to give the Corsairs game one.

In game two, the Vaqueros jumped to a quick 2-5 point lead, but couldn't pull the game away. Momentum shifted when Corsair's star outside hitter Kashelle Wikerson spiked the ball right into Vaqueros captain Samantha Potter's face. This set up the Corsairs to tie the game at 15-15 from an uncontested slam from freshman Nicole Sahabian. The teams battled back and forth until the Corsairs tied the game at 23-23 after a Vaqueros ball handling error.

Captain Rebecca Chase ended the game singled handily. First, she blocked a rocket sent from Potter while demoralizing the opposing team by letting out a loud whoop. Then, Chase hammered the ball to the court for a clean kill that led to a Corsair victory in game two at 25-23.

During game three, the Corsairs started falling apart. The Vaqueros dominated the beginning of the game by leading the Corsairs 0-6. It looked like the Corsairs could come back after getting three points in a row.

This ended when Potter got yet another kill then galloped briefly by the net in celebration bringing the score to 3-7. The game ended when Potter blocked a hard hit from Chase, giving the Vaqueros a solid 13-25 victory.

In game four, the Corsairs looked like they could close a Vaqueros lead at 13-14. Sahabian's hard spike was lightly deflected at the net by a Vaqueros player, which carried the ball way out of bounds. Unfortunately for the Corsairs, Potter ended another game with a smash hit that was blocked, but went out of bounds on the Vaqueros side.

At the start of game five, the Corsairs looked like they were ready to go home. The Vaqueros took a commanding lead early at 2-9. However, the Corsairs still had some fight left when they brought the game back to 7-9. The second wind didn't last. The match ended at 10-15 when a Vaqueros player hit the ball directly into Alex Rudolph's face.

The Corsairs loss can be partially attributed to Potter's outstanding performance. "She's a beast," said Shayna Cooperstone about her 5-foot-10 inch teammate. Potter had 27 kills and caused constant frustration for Corsair captain Chase. "I wanted her so bad," Chase said. "She's a smart hitter." Nonetheless Chase wasn't disappointed about the loss. "It's o.k. when we're losing like that," Chase said. "It was some of the girls' best games."

"In the future, the team has to remain calm while down points," Nicole Ryan, SMC women's volleyball coach, said. "It's just about getting comfortable," Ryan said. The Corsairs' team is very young and new to college level play. There are only two returning players. Most of the potential returnees were shocked by the more rigorous training and practice schedule and immediately quit, Ryan said. This isn't a problem, Ryan said. "I'm not worried," Ryan said. "[We're] just learning how to compete."

Even though the Corsairs are now 0-6, the team is optimistic about the future. "We have physical talent," Ryan said. "Volleyball is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.