Cougars lost to Porterville last Friday

Expect to see pink – and a lot of it – Wednesday night when the Taft College volleyball team hosts Merced College in a Central Valley Conference match in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

It will mark the focal point of the team's annual breast cancer awareness activities this week on campus.

The gym will be decorated with pink ribbons, fans are encouraged to wear pink, admission will be a donation to breast cancer research, and there will be drawings for door prizes.

Head coach Kanoe Bandy also is hoping her team will be inspired to play better than it did last Friday when the Cougars were swept by Porterville – a lot better.

"Well, that was pretty ugly," was her first comment after the Pirates demolished the Cougars 25-15, 25-17 and 25-10.

"I can't remember when one of my teams played that poorly. We are a much better team than that. It's the worst I've seen us play in a long time, and we had such a great practice yesterday. They were on the money. I just don't know what happened."

There were plenty of flaws to point out but serve/receive was the worst.

"If you can't pass the ball you can't win," Bandy said. "It's that simple."

Porterville's aggressive play kept the Cougars off-balance all night. Taft led just twice – 1-0 at the start of the second and third sets.
After the Pirates ran away with the first set the Cougars battled in the second, staying close before the Pirates pulled away with a 6-0 run late in the game.

Chantelle Brown, a 6-foot freshman opposite from Central High in Fresno, sparked the Pirate offense but had help from Nayeli Colunga, Melissa Vernon and Meranda Watkins in dominating play both offensively and defensively at the net.

Sophomore outside hitter Tiffany Mapusaga led the Cougars with 15 kills and 9 digs.

Lani Kaiwi led the team with 10 digs, Chelsea Wong had 9 and Kaylynn Palama 6.

Wong also contributed 5 kills, Risha Alaiasa 3 and Maeleen Hopeau, Haley Walrath and Palama all had 2.

It was TC's first conference loss. The Cougars fell to 2-1 and 9-4 overall. Porterville improves to 2-1 and 7-7.

First serve Wednesday is at 6 p.m. Merced will come in with a 7-5 overall record and 3-0 in the conference.