Volleyball: Cerritos suffers first loss of the season in conference opener

Jayda Harris-Amete had 14 kills for the Falcons
Jayda Harris-Amete had 14 kills for the Falcons
Relying heavily on their back row defense and passing ability, the Cerritos College volleyball team was able to start the season 5-0 and won every set. However, in their South Coast Conference opener against visiting Rio Hondo College on Wednesday, the Falcons could not gain any traction at the net and suffered a 18-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-22 setback. The team will travel to Long Beach City College next Wednesday for a 6:00 p.m. conference match.
The much taller Roadrunners (6-3, 1-0) were able to hit through the Falcon blockers at the net, with the ball defection enough to prevent them from keeping the rally alive. Rotating a group of hitters, Rio Hondo had three players post double-digit kills and also added four solo blocks and eight block assists.
After watching Rio Hondo break open a 19-17 first set by scoring six of the final seven points, Cerritos led 12-9 in the second set, but once again the Roadrunners scored three points in a row to tie the match at 12-12. Now trailing 16-13, the Falcons a pair of kills from sophomore Jayda Harris-Amete (La Mirada HS) and a Roadrunner attack error tied the match once again. On the verge of dropping the second set, freshman libero Leeya Rubio (Schurr HS) secured a kill to get the team back to within a point (23-22), while facing set point, Harris-Amete slammed home a kill to extend the set. However, Rio Hondo's Jade Fuentes ended the set with one of her 11 kills.
With their back against the wall, Cerritos opened a 19-15 lead, thanks in pair to a pair of kills from Jasmine Soto (Schurr HS). But just like in the first two sets, Rio Hondo had an answer at tied the set at 19-19 and even went up, 21-19. A pair of attack errors and a kill from Soto moved the Falcons up, 22-21 and after the teams traded points, the Roadrunners were serving set point at 24-23, only to see the Falcons rally for three straight points and take the third set. Sophomore Kaydence Portillo (Bell Gardens HS) broke a 24-24 tie, while an attack error ended the set for Cerritos.
It was another tight battle in the fourth set and with Cerritos leading, 20-19 after a Portillo kill, Rio Hondo strung together four consecutive points for a 23-20 advantage. Kills from Portillo and Harris-Amete staved off the loss until a service error and attack error ended the night for the Falcons.
Harris-Amete (14 kills, five digs) and Soto (13 kills, 12 digs) led the offensive attack, while Portillo (six kills) and freshman Lillianna Peterson (California HS), who had four kills, also provided offense. Rubio dished out 32 assists and added eight digs and a pair of kills, with freshman Priscilla Castillo (Schurr HS) recording 18 digs from the back row.

Photos by Daryl Peterson