December 1, 2013
Sacramento, CA- Last season the Gavilan College volleyball team ended their season in the second round of the CCCAA Nor-Cal Regional playoffs in a three set loss in which the team did not put their best effort on display. This year the 10th seeded Rams would take on the 2nd seeded American River College in the second round of the playoffs. Unfortunaltley to Ram fans the greatest season in the history of Gavilan College Volleyball came to an end on Saturday Night, however this team holding nothing back. It was a standing room only crowd thatwas treated to an epic five set thriller in which the Rams came back from a 2 set to 0 deficit to force a fifth and deciding set only to come up a bit short losing the match 21-25, 13-25, 25-23, 25-22 and 10-15.
In the first set with both teams trying to get a feel for each other, it was the Rams defense which kept the score close. Led by Sabina Gerard and Raelynn Heredia who combined for 15 digs, the defense tallied 23 total digs. Three times the Rams had the lead in the set, at 5-3, 11-10, then Andreinna Castaneda’s second kill of the match that put them ahead 17-16. It was back and forth it went until Gavilan found themselves down by two, when American River went on a 5-2 run to close out the first set.
In the second set, American River found jumped out on the scoreboard with a 7-2lead. Some tuff calls that went against the Rams seemed to affect the teams focus. The offense had its worst set of the night hitting a -.032 with only Tazi Apple and Savanna Hartman able to put two kills apiece down in the set. Defensively only 14 digs were recorded. With the home crowd behind them and all the momentum, American River was up two set to none and looking for a three set sweep.
The Rams found themselves down 3-6 before a kill by Apple seemed to clear the team from their daze. Showing the determination that has made this team back to back Coast Conference Champions and the best to ever wear the Gavilan jersey, the Rams fought back, going back and forthwith American River. The score was tied at 17 when one of Apple’s 8 kills in the set gave the Rams a lead that they would not give up. The defense found their footing again, with Karina Daniels’ 6 digs and Heredia’s 5 digs setting the tone for the team which recorded 24 digs in the set.
With the moment on their side, the Rams jumped out to an 11-4 lead. With the score 20-12, the home team went on an 8-3 run to before Hartman put down a set delivered by Gerard ended the run. Two points later it was a Gerard delivering another assist to Hartman off a dig by Daniels which pushed the match to a deciding fifth set. In the fourth, once again it was Apple, Hartman along with Castaneda combined for 13 kills, while Daniels had 9 digs and Daisy Valladares 5 digs to give the team 26 in the set.
American River jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the fifth. However when Ryan Asp terminated a Gerard set, a spark was lit and the Rams began answering back behind a 6-1 run of their own to get the score board to read 10-11. Unfortunately, Gavilan would not score another point and it was American River who found themselves moving on to the third round wining the deciding set by five points.
The defense which has led the team throughout the season might have saved their best performance for last, combining for 95 total digs. It was Daniels who led the way with 22 digs, followed by Heredia (19 digs), Gerard (17 digs), Brittani Siaz (13 digs) and Valladares (11 digs). Castaneda had 4 blocks along with Apple (3 blocks), and Gerard (2 blocks). Offensively, Gerard finished the night with 40 assists distributed to five different Rams. The hitters were led by Apple (19 kills) with Hartman (12 kills), Castaneda (6 kills), Jessica Stofer (4 kills) and Asp (3 kills).
Gavilan finishes the year with a 22-8 record, 11-1 in conference play, a second straight conference title, a fifth straight appearance in the CCCAA Nor-Cal Regional Playoffs and a winning percentage of .733% the highest winning percentage of any team to play volleyball for the Rams.