On Friday, the Lady Cougars faced off in another doubleheader against Merced College and Cuesta College in the Monterey Peninsula Classic. In the opening match, Lassen (0-4) went head to head with the Merced Blue Devils (1-2).
The match between the two included several long rallies and big swings and was neck and neck until about the halfway point of each set. The Cougars accumulated 17 kills on the match and had several touches on the block. The Cougars went down in three sets (17-25, 17-25, 10-25).
The Cougs second match of the day was against the Cougars of Cuesta College. The nearly two hour long match included 54 digs and 26 kills, as well as several long rallies and tough hustle plays made.
In sets one and two, the Cuesta offense dominated the Cougars forcing coach Erickson to make a lineup change in the third and fourth set. Kelli Walsh and Kyler Smith switched positions for the final two sets. This provided more hitting opportunities for both hitters.
Towards the end of set three the Cougars were still down when Anyah Grigsby went back to serve. Grigsby stayed cool under pressure and placed tough serves in play putting Taysha Ortega in a good position to set Grace Felton and Kelli Walsh. The two were able to put the ball away without being contested. The fourth set of the match was close in score from beginning to end with both teams exchanging big swings from their outside hitters.
“This was the first time I have seen my hitters swing without fear in match play, said Head Coach Julia Erickson. “They showed their power well.”
The Cougars took a tough 4 set loss (8-25, 15-25, 26-24, 23-25). Despite the two losses on the day Grace Felton and Taysha Ortega had impressive stats. Felton posted 14 kills and 9 block assists and Ortega added 32 assists and 21 digs.
“The team showed character today and competed well against both Merced and Cuesta College. We are heading in the right direction. It will be nice to get the girls off the road this weekend and have a home match.”
The Lady Cougars have their first home match of the year at 2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 18 against Yuba College in the Cougar Sports Complex.