Cougars plan drawings for prizes at match against Columbia

The Taft College volleyball team's annual breast cancer awareness promotion will culminate Wednesday night when the Cougars host Columbia College.

Drawings for prizes donated by local businesses and individuals will be held along with a volleyball match that launches the second half of the Central Valley Conference season.

The match gets underway at 5 p.m., an hour earlier than normal because of the more than five-hour drive required by the team from Columbia, which is just north of Sonora.

Behind a theme of "Dig for a Cure," the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center will be decked out in pink ribbons and balloons. Fans are encouraged to wear pink. Admission is a donation to breast cancer research.

In addition to rolling out the pink, the team solicits donations of cash and merchandise for drawings and blankets the campus with information about breast cancer.

The Cougars will be looking to repeat last month's sweep of the Claim Jumpers.

TC closed out the first half of CVC play last Friday by sweeping visiting Reedley College 25-18, 25-14, 25-11.

It was the fourth consecutive conference victory and improved the team's CVC record to 5-2 and 12-5 overall. Reedley slipped to 3-4 in the conference.

TC was threatened only in the first set when the Tigers took a 13-12 lead before Sina Mauga slammed home a point off a short-set to get even.

The Cougars took the lead on a hitting error and, although the Tigers tied it at 17, they never made much noise after that.

TC cruised out to a 10-point (15-5) lead in the second set and never looked back.

Mauga's kill and stuff block set the tone at the top of the third set.

"That was fun," said head coach Kanoe Bandy. "Overall, we played better than we did two nights ago (at Sequoias). But we were playing at home where we have a great fan base. It's frustrating we can't play like that all the time."

Mauga finished the night with eight blocks – including two stuffs – to go along with 11 kills and three digs.

Chanel Cantere led the team in attacks with 15 kills and had six digs.

Tiffany Mapusaga led the defensive effort with 10 digs and had four kills.

Ono Taotofi had six blocks, four digs and three kills, Madison Lawley three kills and three digs and libero Lani Kaiwi seven digs.
The Cougars got back the services of two players who have been sidelined the past month.

Starting setter Kerstyn Randall, who's been nursing an ankle injury, was pressed into service a little sooner than Bandy anticipated after suiting up for the first time since Sept. 14.

Back-up Rachel Kapesi went down in the first set after twisting an ankle, so Randall came off the bench and tossed up 26 assists. Kapesi had five assists before being injured.

Outside hitter Dylan Parker, who has been sidelined because of illness, got back into the action, too, and contributed three blocks.