By Jesse Muñoz/COC Sports Information Director
FRESNO — No. 4 College of the Canyons was eliminated from the CCCAA State Championship Tournament at the hands of No. 1 San Joaquin Delta College by a 3-0 score during Friday’s quarterfinal round at Fresno City College. Set scores were 25-18, 27-25, 25-14.
The victory set up an All-North final four for the second time in as many years with Delta joined by No. 2 Feather River, No. 3 American River and No. 4 College of San Mateo.
Canyons (20-9) struggled to find its swing vs. the Mustangs, finishing with just 29 kills and hitting .048 for the match. The Cougars finished with five service aces, three coming from Kaelyn White who also tallied a team-high nine kills. White was named to the 2022 All-State Tournament Team, the lone representative for COC.
COC sophomore Aly Grodell finished with five kills and libero Sabrina Sveiven ended her night with 17 digs and an ace.
Delta was led by Savannah LeBarre’s 15 kills with 11 more coming from Kiyah Irby. The Mustangs recorded just one point from behind the line but showcased a tough defensive front that accounted for 65 digs, including a match-high 18 from Angela Biazon.
Canyons posted a pair of rallies in the second set, falling behind 15-8 before battling back to tie the set at 16-16. The Cougars later extended the set thanks in large part to back-to-back-to-back kills from White, before the Mustangs eventually prevailed 27-25.
The Mustangs (26-3) carried that momentum into the third frame to come away with the victory.
“I’m super proud of the way we played a tough pre-conference schedule and got through some tough stretches to win a conference title,” Canyons co-head coach Clay Timmons said immediately after the match. “We expected to be in the playoffs and it didn’t matter where we were seeded because we were battle-tested and prepared to beat anyone.
“I think winning on the road vs. Irvine Valley was as big a win as we’ve had in the last two years,” added Timmons. “Give Delta a lot of credit for executing its game plan. I think if we played like we did vs. Irvine Valley that maybe we’re still going at this tourney.”
In Saturday’s semifinal round the Mustangs were defeated in a 3-2 (25-12, 25-15, 22-25, 24-26, 16-14) comeback attempt vs. American River College.
Feather River College defeated San Mateo by a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-18) final score to set up Sunday’s state championship game.
On Sunday, Feather River (36-1) was a 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-21) victor over American River (25-5) to win the 2022 CCCAA State Championship.
– Brianna Botello — 3 SP, 6 K, 3 digs
– Aly Grodell — 3 SP, 5 K, SA, BS, 6 digs
– Jordan Nunez — 3 SP, 3 K, 15 A, 5 digs
– Sabrina Sveiven — 3 SP, 2 A, SA, 17 digs
– Kaelyn White — 3 SP, 9 K, 3 SA, BA, 3 digs
2022 Season Recap
The Cougars finished the regular season as champions of the Western State Conference (WSC), South Division after completing a perfect 12-0 run through the conference schedule. The title was the seventh in program history and first since the 2017 campaign. The perfect conference run had not been accomplished since the 2015 season.
Canyons then played in the postseason for a ninth consecutive season (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022). The CCCAA didn’t host a 2020 season due to cancellations based on the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 regional playoffs also marked the program’s 19th postseason appearance overall.
COC dropped its regular season finale in the annual WSC Crossover, falling to No. 3 state ranked Ventura College 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 29-27) on the road. Prior to that, the Cougars had not lost a game since Sept. 21, running its consecutive win streak to 13 straight. That helped the Cougars finish the regular season ranked No. 14 in the state according to the final regular season California Community College Women’s Volleyball Coaches Association (CCCWVCA) statewide rankings.
At season’s end sophomore Aly Grodell was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American and All-State Teams, in addition to being named the Western State Conference (WSC), South Division Player of the Year to highlight the Cougars’ haul of postseason accolades.
COC sophomore Sabrina Sveiven was named the WSC, South Libero of the Year, becoming the first in program history to do so. Canyons co-head coaches Lisa Hooper and Clay Timmons shared conference Coach of the Year honors. In total, the Cougars had eight players earn All-WSC awards including Grodell and Sveiven.
No. 10 seed Canyons started the postseason on the road at No. 7 Santa Ana College, earning a 3-0 postseason victory to advance in the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs.
COC then upset No. 2 Irvine Valley College 3-1 to clinch its second straight trip to the CCCAA State Championship tournament. The state tourney berth was also the fifth in program history (2007, 2015, 2017, 2021, 2022).
Canyons finishes the 2022 campaign as the No. 6 team in the state according to the final CCCWVCA rankings, as compiled after the state championship tourney.
Stay up to date on all this season’s action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.