Cougars fall in three sets

When you get swept in a volleyball match by scores of 25-12, 25-14 and 25-18, you’d think it was pretty much a disaster.

But veteran Taft College head coach Kanoe Bandy didn’t do any stomping or teeth gnashing at the end of last Friday’s Central Valley Conference match in Fresno.

“We played so well, but the scores don’t reflect the way we really played,” she said.  “There were so many long rallies. We played really, really well.  We passed their great hitters, but we couldn’t get around their great blockers.  They just had too many horses.”

Fresno has won the last six conference titles and, in typical fashion, has swept all seven of its CVC matches so far this season.  Taft marked the seventh and the end of the first half of conference play.

The Rams are ranked seventh in the state and third in northern California.

“The scary thing is they are better than they were last year,” Bandy said.

TC (5-2 CVC, 12-5 overall and ranked 12th in northern California) opens the second half Wednesday with a trip to Sonora to take on Columbia College, a team the Cougars swept in the first round.  The next home match is next Monday when winless West Hills comes to town.

While the Cougars did an outstanding job of digging the Ram attacks, they couldn’t figure out a way to deal with Fresno’s stable of 5-foot-10 blockers.

“We had to hit around them, and then they would just bang the ball back at you,” Bandy said.

But the way her team played defense was a plus, she said.

“We gained some confidence.”

Because the Cougars didn’t get many chances to be on the attack the kill output was sub-par.

Tiffany Mapusaga, Risha Alaiasa and Chelsea Wong all had seven each.

Mapusaga led the defensive effort with 14 kills with Haley Walrath contributing seven.

“Haley played all the way around,” Bandy said.  She usually is subbed for when she rotates to the back row.

“She did a good job.”

Maheleen Hopeau had two blocks.