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Santa Clarita CA
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Today in
S.C.V. History
June 18
1945 - PFC Johnny Cordova of Castaic killed in action on Okinawa [story]
Johnny Cordova

Courtesy COC Sports Information

Courtesy COC Sports Information

The No. 4 College of the Canyons women’s volleyball team has advanced to the third round of the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Southern California Regionals for the first time in eight years, after earning a hard fought 3-2 (26-24, 14-25, 20-25, 25-21, 15-12) postseason victory over No. 5 Grossmont College on Saturday.

The Cougars emerged from the first set in winning fashion after a back-and-forth style assault that would set the tone for the entire match.

But even with a 1-0 advantage the Cougars quickly found themselves on the ropes, as Grossmont stormed back to decisively take the second set 25-14.

In doing so, the Griffins became just the second team this year to win a set on COC’s home court. Bakersfield College also managed to win set vs. COC in its 3-1 loss to the Cougars on Oct. 23.

Entering Saturday’s match the Cougars had lost just 10 sets on the season.

Grossmont’s powerful front line continued to pressure Canyons throughout the third set, with the Griffins using a 25-20 win to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Down but far from out, Canyons put together a rally of its own led by freshman All-American Emily Bible — the reigning WSC Player of the Year.

Bible’s team-high 21 kills from the outside hitter position helped lead the Cougars back from the brink, with COC able to claw out a 25-21 win in the fourth set.

Bible posted a .417 hitting percentage on the night, while adding five aces down the stretch.

Elsewhere around the net, middle blocker Alexa Hesseldenz had nine kills on an ultra-efficient.571 hitting percentage. The freshman also added two blocks to the effort.

Sophomores Alize Bricot and Erica Magee each finished with seven kills in the match,

COC setter Katie Rutecki, a CCCAA All-SoCal Team honoree, was all over the court, helping to drive the Cougar offense with 45 assists, nine digs and two kills.

Canyons libero Chelsea Corn had a team-high 19 digs.

After seizing the momentum in the fourth set, the Cougars never let go. With the home crowd cheering in raucous support, Canyons was able to establish a slight advantage at 14-12.

With sophomore Brooke Garelick back to serve on match point the crowd rose in anticipation.

Grossmont handled the serve and managed a hard attack to the right side, which was quickly met with a clutch dig from Alize Bricot.

A split second later Rutecki was there with the set, and Bible drove home the winning point with a powerful drive from the left side.

Players stormed the court and after a series of celebratory leaps and cheers, Canyons huddled in celebration, headed to the ‘Elite Eight’ for just the second time in school history.

Canyons (24-2), winners of three consecutive Western State Conference (WSC), South Championships, has now won 20 straight matches on its home court, dating back to the 2014 season.

Despite COC’s winning tradition, the Cougars are in somewhat unfamiliar territory.

COC has not advanced into the third round of the postseason since its run to the CCCAA state finals back in 2007.

In addition, the two home playoff contests hosted by COC this season were the program’s first since 1999, despite COC having qualified for the postseason in eight of the last nine seasons.

The Cougars will look to continue their postseason run with a third round playoff match at No. 1 Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Canyons and SBCC (25-3) met earlier this season during the annual WSC Crossover Series. In that match the host Vaqueros handed COC a 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 19-25, 27-25) defeat.

However, the Cougars would go on to win their next 14 matches to set up this postseason meeting.

The winner of Tuesday’s contest will advance to play in the 2015 CCCAA Women’s Volleyball State Championships being hosted by College of the Canyons Dec. 5-6.

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