The Central Valley Conference volleyball chase is just underway, but already Taft College has a crucial hurdle to get over.
The Cougars host Porterville College tonight, the only team to beat perennial conference powerhouse Fresno in the last four years.
First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.
The Cougars are 9-3 overall and 2-0 in the conference coming off a three-set sweep of winless West Hills College Wednesday night in Coalinga.
The Pirates (6-7 overall, 1-1 CVC) are expected to come in hungry after being swept by Fresno the same night.
The Cougars breezed in the first two sets at Coalinga, winning 25-8 and 25-9 but struggled a bit in the third before finishing off the Falcons 25-21.
Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Mapusaga once again led the Cougars both offensively and defensively with 12 kills and 12 digs. She was 12-of-20 in attacks with two errors for a .500 hitting percentage.
Freshmen Chelsea Wong and Maeleen Hopeau also were strong at the net. Wong had 10 kills in 17 attempts with one error for a .529 percentage while Hopeau was 10-for-19 with no errors and a .526 percentage.
Hopeau also had four stuff blocks.
For the match the Cougars had 41 kills in 72 tries with four errors for a .514 percentage.
Taft High products Chelsea Dickard and Haley Walrath were second and third in digs behind Mapusaga with 6 and 4 respectively. Walrath also contributed four kills.
Setter Kaylynn Palama tossed up 29 assists.