The College of the Canyons women’s volleyball program earned its first win of the 2016 season after picking up a tough 3-1 (26-28, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21) victory over visiting Irvine Valley College on Wednesday in the Cougar Cage.
The victory was the first for COC interim head coach Clay Timmons who now guides the program after an 11-year tenure as an assistant coach.
Canyons (1-0) battled through four back-and-forth sets with IVC (1-1), but was eventually able to edge the Lasers behind a strong attack led by freshman opposite hitters Emily Burns and Sam Nua, and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Sargent.
Burns finished the match with 17 kills and three aces. Nua was next on the list with 13 kills, three aces and a block, while Sargent led the team with a .407 kill percentage to go with 13 kills.
But the match wasn’t all Canyons. IVC’s Taira Ka’awaloa finished the night with 18 kills and 19 digs, while Juju Cannon and Lucee Fitzgerald each had eight kills apiece.
After leading through most of the first set, the Cougars made some costly errors that allowed the Lasers to rally from behind and steal the early 1-0 advantage.
Timmons talked to his players at the break, and from there on the team seemed to play with a renewed determination to eliminate some of those early season mistakes and defend their home court.
COC entered the 2016 season opener having won 18 straight regular season home wins. The Cougars were last defeated at home by Irvine Valley back on Sept. 5, 2014.
Canyons setter Rachel Perez had a strong start to her season with 46 assists and two aces. COC freshman Daniella Villano had eight kills, while Demi Dawson and Liz Baker both recorded 11 digs.
Canyons will next play at the Cerritos College Invitational being held Sept. 9 to 10. The Cougars are slated to face Porterville College, LA Harbor and San Diego City College in day one action on Saturday.
—Story & photos by Jesse Munoz/COC Sports Information