8th Place Finish

by Sep 9, 2019

Stockon, CA – In one of the toughest S.J. Delta College Tournaments in recent memory, the Gavilan volleyball team struggled their way to an 8th place finish, going 1-3 on the weekend. The Rams got on opening win against Taft College, before losing to Feather River, Hartnell and American River College.

It was a four-set win against the Cougars that had Gavilan winning the match 25-19, 24-26, 25-15, 25-10. Offensively they had an .389 hitting percentage, with sophomore Teresa Ochoa leading the way with 19 kills with a hitting percentage of .613.  She was set 31 times in the match and ended with 0 hitting errors to go along with 12 digs. This was her second double double of the season.  Also chipping in was sophomore Flo Tukuaoga with 14 and freshman Margo Clonts with 13 kills. Sophomore Keona Stopper had 30 assists to lead the setters, while also recording 7 kills in the match to go with 13 digs.  The other two setters, sophomore Melissa Zanotto and freshman Sofia Quintanilla had 13 and 12 assists. Defensively it was sophomore libero Noel Chavarria who tied with Stopper to have a team high 13 digs, while freshman Alex Bergantz finished with 10.

In game two of the tournament, the Rams were taking on Feather River College, a team many felt going into the tournament was one of the top two teams in Northern California (an idea that was later confirmed as they would go on to win the tournament.) The Golden Eagles were looking for some revenge for being eliminated by the Rams a year ago in the CCCAA NorCal Regional Finals. Gavilan came out swinging in the first set hitting .300 on their way to a first set win, only to lose a highly contested 4-set match 21-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-17.  Once again it was Ochoa leading the way with 16 kills, as she was the only Ram in double digits in that category. Clonts, Stopper and Tukuaoga each had 6 kills. Zanotto had a team high 18 assists, while also leading the team with 14 digs.

After a surprise change of the tournament bracket, the Rams faced off with Hartnell to start day two of the tournament. Maybe feeling the toll of their previous match which didn't’t finish until after 9 o’clock p.m., the Rams got off to a slow start the first two sets 25-23 and 25-20.  They battled back to win the next two sets 25-23 and 25-21 to force a deciding fifth set.  Despite the momentum being on their side, the Rams were unable to ever get a lead as the Panthers seemed to catch a second wind, as they controlled the set from the start to end up wining the set by a score of 15-7 thus wining the match. Three Rams had double digit kills led by Ochoa with 15, Tukuaoga’s 12 and Stopper’s 10 to go along with a team high 21 assists.

With only one more match remaining on the tournament schedule, the Rams took on last years CCCAA State Champion, American River College. The two teams faced off in the finals of the tournament a year ago, with the Rams winning in 4 sets. This time the match would go to the Beavers, as they won by a score of 25-11, 25-23 and 25-20. Early on in the first set, Tukuaoga was unable to continue as she dealt with a lower body injury, which seemed to suck the life out of the Rams. Then with a much smaller line up in the second and third set, that seemed to include every defensive specialist on the roster, the Rams were able to frustrate American River. Despite a height advantage and power hitting advantage for American River, Gavilan was able keep the balls from hitting the ground forcing the Beavers into unforced hitting errors. It was Stopper who had a team high 14 kills, while Ochoa for the first time this year was held to single digits in with 8 kills. Zanotto had a team high 12 assists.

The Rams are now 2-4 on the year, and it doesn't’t get any easier this week. They will travel to Rocklin on Friday to take on host school Sierra College as well as Fresno City College who finished 3rd over the weekend at the Delta Tournament. Then on Saturday it is another double header as they will once again take on Feather River, before taking on Ohlone College.