Cougars face Fresno and Porterville next week

It took almost as long to hand out the drawing prizes as it did for Taft College to sweep visiting Columbia College Wednesday night in a Central Valley Conference volleyball match.

It was pink ribbon week and the team held fundraisers for breast cancer research.

Prize drawings and donations culminated the team’s annual drive to spread the word about the importance of prevention.  In addition to raising money, the team staffed information booths on campus.

The match was the last tune-up before the Cougars hit the road for rematches with defending champ Fresno and Porterville – teams they lost to in five-set matches in the first round of conference play.

The Cougars dispatched Columbia quickly in the first two sets but the Claim Jumpers put up a fight before bowing in the third game.
The scores were 25-11, 25-5 and 25-19.

Although TC was sharp in the first two sets they got sloppy with their passing in the third, and that gave the Claim Jumpers a spark that kept things close until Madison Lawley, Tiffany Mapusaga and Sina Mauga finished things off with back-to-back-to-back kills.

The Cougars set the tone in the first game, racing out to a quick 11-0 lead before the Claim Jumpers got a kill from Taylor Smahlik to stem the bleeding.

From there the Cougars put it on cruise control.

Game two was even more lopsided.

After Columbia led 2-1, the Cougars went on a 6-0 spree ignited by a kill from setter Kerstyn Randall, who had 31 assists on the night.
After Columbia ended the run, the Cougars surged back with 6-0 and 9-0 streaks to bury their guests.

Mapusaga’s back-to-back kills finished it off.

Columbia started the third set with a 3-0 lead, but after Taft wrested it away at 4-3 the Cougars never looked back.

Chanel Cantere led the way with 18 kills, 11 digs and a block.

Mapusaga had nine kills and seven digs.

Lani Kaiwi and Randall led the team in digs with 12 apiece.

Mapusaga led the defense at the net with five blocks.  

Lawley had four kills and two blocks and Allison Grubbs one block.

Rounding out the attacks were Dylan Parker with three kills, Mauga, Randall, Ono Taotofi and Tyra Williams with one each.

Lawley, Williams and Haley Walrath had three digs each.

TC gets a week off before heading to Fresno next Wednesday and Porterville two nights later.

“It’ll be hard playing them on the road,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy.  “It was tough when we played them here, but we had our fans behind us.  Playing them there adds to the pressure.  We’re going to see if we can motivate ourselves.  We’re going to have to be more aggressive this time.”