It was “Feast or Famine” night at the Cougar Sports Center Wednesday.
At least that’s the way Taft College volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy put it after her team dropped a five-set Central Valley Conference match to Fresno City College.
The Cougars shocked the No. 1 team in northern California and No. 4 in the state by overwhelming the Rams 25-15 in the first set.
“We were just phenomenal,” Bandy said. “If we play like that all the time we will be unbeatable.”
But the fire went out in a heartbeat when Fresno turned the tables and swamped the Cougars 25-11 in the second set.
Things calmed down a bit when the teams split the next two games – Fresno winning 25-19 and Taft 25-20, but in both of those sets the winning side grabbed an early lead and was never truly threatened after that.
The tie-breaking fifth set started out close but Fresno went on a 6-0 scoring and ran away from the Cougars, 15-6.
“This was a crazy match,” Bandy said. “In each game one team dominated. There was not much in-between.”
The Cougars, who were ranked ninth in NorCal and 24th in the state coming into this week’s action will try to regroup tonight when they host vastly improved Porterville College. The Pirates are 3-0 in the conference and 9-4 overall and ranked No. 6 (NorCal) and No. 17 (state).
TC is 1-1 in the conference and 8-4 overall heading into the 6 p.m. match in the Cougar Sports Center.
Freshman Tiffany Mapusaga had a big night.
She’s short (5-foot-5) for an outside hitter but has great leaping ability.
“Tiffany played really great tonight,” Bandy said.
The Waianae High (Hawaii) product led the team in kills with 12 and digs with 23.
Fresno did a good job containing Cougar sophomore outside hitter Chanel Cantere, limiting her to just 11 kills. She also didn’t get as many touches on defense but still managed to finish with 14 digs, second best on the team behind Mapusaga.
Freshman libero Lani Kaiwi had 12 digs, Tyra Williams 9 and Rachel Kapesi 8.
Sophomore Sina Mauga led the team in blocks with eight and added nine kills.
Madison Lawley had nine kills.
Setter Kapesi, who has stepped in for starter Kerstyn Randall, tossed up 42 assists. Randall is sidelined with an ankle injury and probably won’t be back in the lineup for another two to three weeks, Bandy said.
Sophomore hitter Dylan Parker missed the action due to illness and is doubtful for tonight.