Women’s Volleyball Second in PCC

Kenny Kinder

For a program coming into the season riding an undefeated conference streak of four years, two state tournament appearances and four Coach of the Year awards, expectations were sky high for the women’s volleyball team.

The Lady Olympians ended their 2008 campaign with unsuccessful results losing three more games than a year ago and not winning the PCC championship for the first time in four years.

After a mediocre 10-7 start to the season, the women’s volleyball team paced themselves to a 19-7 finish, winning nine of their last 10 games as they earned a second place finish in the Pacific Coast Conference.

With their 10-2 conference record, the Lady Olympians suffered their first conference losses in four years.

Sophomore Brittany Moss and Freshman Amber Davidson were selected to the All-Conference First Team.

Davidson breached the top 20 in state with her team high 429 assists for the season.

Moss, also an All-Southern Regional Team selection, played her final game as an Olympian in a loss to Golden West and hopes to further pursue volleyball at a four-year university.

“I’m already in the process of talking with college coaches figuring out where I’m going to continue playing at,” replied Moss. “I will be training all spring, working on my vertical and anything else that can make me a physically and mentally stronger and smarter volleyball player.”

Freshman Joslin Alexander also made a conference team appearance, taking home Second Team honors, followed by Susanne Riddleberger and Heather Hartwell, who were Honorable Mention.

Even with a regular season victory over Irvine Valley College, Mesa College was seeded No. 7 in the state.

“We were seeded seventh in going into playoffs which I was disappointed with,” commented Coach Kim Lester. “I thought we should have been seeded fifth since we beat Irvine Valley in the beginning of the year but they were seeded above us, we also crushed Palomar and they went in at No. 3 in the state to playoffs.”

The Lady Olympians ended their season with a first round playoff exit at the hands of Golden West College. Golden West dropped Mesa in three sets, winning two of three in stunning fashion.

“I was very happy with the way the team came out in the first match,” said Lester. “We played with enthusiasm and competed right up to the end. We ended up losing 23-25 and the last 2 points we gave them were our errors,” she added. “All in all I thought we were going to battle! However, they (Golden West College) must’ve taken the wind out of our sails because we didn’t show up in match 2 or 3. It made me sad to watch this team go out this way.”

Over the course of the season, injuries and internal problems were detrimental in the progress and development of the Lady Olympians and they didn’t go unnoticed.

“If not for a few key injuries I feel like this team could have gone even further. Not to use those as an excuse but it majorly impacted our team,” expressed Lester. “However after a rough start to our season, I’d have to say that I am very proud of the way this team came together at the end,” she added. “I was very vocal about my disappointment in them and I feel they rose to the challenge and became the team I knew they could be.”

Sophomore Moss also expressed her thoughts on the sum of the season.

“This season was a constant roller coaster. We never knew how we were going to play,” said Moss. “We started off strong, had a rough middle, but we ended strong. We would’ve liked to make it to state, but it was still a great season with a great group of girls.”

Although the conclusion of the season is still fresh in the atmosphere, coach Lester is already talking about next season.

“We are a young team so this spring I will work them hard and we will improve,” replied Lester. “I can only hope the team will start thinking about next year and decided that they’re going to go for it all and be the best they can be.”

Some players, like Davidson, have already made off-season commitments for next fall as well.

“During the spring I have two conditioning classes for volleyball that will be used to keep me in shape and also sharpen my skills,” commented Davidson.

“When the summer rolls around I’ll play beach volleyball in order to keep my cardio up while working on individual and team skills as well,” added Davidson. “My focus for this summer is to be in the best condition by the start of the season so I can give it my all and focus strictly on practice and games.”

Mesa College will host various conditioning classes in the spring in preparation for fall sports.