Chanel Cantere continues to show her versatility in the early going after guiding Taft College to the consolation championship in the San Joaquin Delta Tournament in Stockton last weekend.
The 5-foot-7 sophomore recorded 58 kills on offense and 76 defensive digs in the four matches the Cougars played.
By going 3-1 in the tournament the Cougars are 5-1 in the pre-conference grind heading into another doubleheader Wednesday at American River College in Sacramento.
They split their Friday games, sweeping Solano 25-9, 25-18, 25-23, and getting swept by tourney runner-up Feather River 25-11, 25-17, 25-13).
On Saturday TC swept host Delta for the second time in three days (25-15, 25-15, 25-10) before clinching the consolation crown with a 25-21, 21-25, 25-11, 25-16 victory over Butte College.
“We finished up really strong,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “Butte is a really good team – one of the best passing teams I’ve seen, but we did a good job.”
While Cantere was putting up impressive numbers, freshman outside hitter Tiffany Mapusaga chipped in 28 kills and 36 digs.
Bandy was especially satisfied with her team’s defensive work over the two days and four matches. Part of the reason was a change in strategy.
“Instead of having my labero (Kristen Kamakele) playing in the middle back, I put her on the left side,” Bandy said, “and had Chanel and Tiffany playing middle back. That worked very well because they can also hit from the back row.”
Kamakele had 40 digs in the four matches.
Sophomores Ono Taotofi and Sina Mauga had 25 and 21 kills respectively, setter Kerstyn Randall contributed 39 digs and Rachel Kapesi 36.
The Cougars also blocked well.
Mauga had 13, Madison Lawley 11, Taotofi six and Cantere four.
“Against Delta I told Sina to follow No. 8 (Kaylyn Lackey) who is their most dominant hitter,” Bandy said. “I think we stuffed her about six times and that ruined her confidence.”
She expects a major challenge from American River Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Sacramento.
ARC lost only to Feather River in the winner’s bracket of the Stockton tournament.
“I thought they were one of the top three teams in the tournament,” she said.
Reigning Central Valley Conference champion Fresno City College won the tournament after sweeping Feather River. FCC will christen the Cougars’ home season on Sept. 26.