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'Clem-entime' for PC
Pirates win playoff match
The true test of a team’s ability to come through in the clutch doesn’t come when everything’s going well. The true test of if a team can come through in the clutch is judged when it faces adversity and it’s not playing its best.
The Porterville College volleyball team struggled through the first three games in its Northern California State Regional first-round playoff match against Monterey Peninsula. The Pirates, seeded No. 6, managed to pull out the first game, and then dominated the No. 11 Lobos in the last two games on their way to a 25-23, 16-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-6 win on Tuesday at PC. Porterville (20-6) advanced to a likely match at No. 3 Santa Rosa on Saturday in a NorCal semifinal.
“Oh man, we really had to battle, and I felt it was our intensity to keep on fighting as a team,” said Amanda Monge, who posted a double-double in kills and digs in posting 23 kills, one assist, 12 digs, one block and four aces for PC.
Monge received plenty of help from her friends, including Allison Clem and Nayeli Colunga, who both had double-doubles in kills and digs. Clem had 17 kills, 12 digs, three blocks and two aces, and Nayeli Colunga had 13 kills, one assist, 18 digs and two blocks.
PC coach Dale Henderson said his team had its best practice of the year on Monday, so it must have not come as a surprise when Porterville jumped out to a 6-1 lead in game one, with Monge serving for five straight points during the run.
But, the rest of the first three games was a struggle, with the Lobos coming back to take a 21-20 lead in game one. Clem’s kill and Kacey Markarian’s ace regained a 22-21 lead for PC. After the Lobos tied the score 22-22, Clem had another kill, and Colunga’s kill that landed on the back line gave the Pirates a 24-22 lead on their way to winning the game.
But Porterville fell behind 12-3 in game two and couldn’t recover. The Pirates also couldn’t overcome a 7-1 deficit in game three. Clem scored three straight points on two kills and a block to pull PC to within 17-15, but the Lobos went back up 21-15. Porterville rallied one more time, with Monge’s kill pulling the Pirates to within 24-22 before they fell short.
But, games four and five were all PC. Monge scored three straight points on a block and two aces to give Porterville an 11-5 lead, and later Clem had a kill and two aces, and Colunga followed with three kills during a run in which Porterville built a 20-9 lead in game four.
Porterville took control from the start in game five. Taylor Ball had the first of her two blocks in the game to give PC a 1-0 lead, Clem followed with two kills to make it 3-0 and PC never looked back.
“It was a tough match,” Henderson said. “We came out there a little flat. But, nobody said the playoffs are going to be easy. We were able to fight back and get it done. I was happy with the all-around performance. We never gave up.”
Also for PC, Sam Sawyer had two kills, 52 assists and six digs, Markarian had 19 digs and Danielle Carrillo added four kills and one dig.
About the likely matcup with Santa Rosa, Henderson said, “It’s going to be a tough fight. They’re pretty much an equivalent to Fresno.”
Note: The interest in Monge continues to increase as Cal State Los Angeles has made an offer to her. Also, after it was reported that the Southeastern Conference’s Auburn University was interested in Monge, another SEC school, Arkansas, has asked about her.