Cougars wrapped up regular season with a 25-21, 25-9, 25-19 victory over Reedley

Taft College wrapped up the regular season Friday with a volleyball sweep at Reedley College.

But the Cougars, who finished 17-7 overall and 10-4 for third place in the Central Valley Conference, are still practicing this week.

That’s because they will be in the state playoffs, but they’ll have to wait until Sunday before getting the word on whom they’ll play and where.

The Central Valley is perhaps the only conference in the state that ends its season more than a week before playoffs begin.

That’s because conference coaches voted two years ago to tweak the schedule.

Cougar head coach Kanoe Bandy doesn’t like the idea.

“That makes it difficult for those of us who make the playoffs,” she said.  “The challenge is to keep your team sharp and motivated when all you do is practice all week and don’t get to play any games.”

She said the CVC is the only conference “as far as I know” that ends its season early.

In last week’s state poll, the Cougars were ranked No. 8 in northern California, and if that holds they would host a first-round match a week from today.

“I’m confident we’ll be in the playoffs but I don’t know if our ranking will hold up when they seed the teams,” Bandy said.  “We could have a problem because Gavilan was ranked ninth and they beat us early in the season, so we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out.”

Fresno swept Porterville Friday to capture its sixth consecutive conference crown.  The Rams, unbeaten in the conference and 23-1 overall, are ranked No. 1 in northern California and No. 2 in the state.

All four of the Cougars’ conference losses were to Fresno and Porterville.  In the first round TC took both to the fifth and deciding set before losing.  In the second half, Fresno swept the Cougars but TC went five sets again with PC, losing the fifth by the same score (15-13).

The state’s No. 1 team is undefeated (26-0) and two-time defending state champion Los Angeles Pierce.  The Brahmas have lost only one set this season.

In the 25-21, 25-9, 25-19 win over Reedley, Chanel Cantere again sparked the offense with 15 kills and added eight digs on defense.
Other kills came from Madison Lawley with 6, Sina Mauga with 5, Dylan Parker and Ono Taotofi with 3 each and Tyra Williams with 2.

“I tried to play everybody,” Bandy said, “so I rotated most of my hitters except Chanel.”

Lani Kaiwi led the team in digs with 9.  Tiffany Mapusaga had 6, Kristen Kamakele and Randall had 5 each, Kapesi 4, Williams 2 and Taotofi 1.

Mauga, who is ranked No. 2 in the state in blocks, finished the night with 6.  She had help from Taotofi with 4, Cantere and Lawley with 3 each and Randall with 1.

Kapesi set the first two games and tossed up 16 assists while Randall had 8 assists in the third set.

The all-conference team will be selected Wednesday when the coaches meet in Taft.