Volleyball: Falcons drop tournament opener

File Photo: Brooke Winquist posted five kills for the Falcons
File Photo: Brooke Winquist posted five kills for the Falcons

In the first round of the inaugural South Coast Conference Tournament, the Cerritos College volleyball team was swept by top-seeded El Camino College, 15-25, 14-25, 15-25 on Wednesday. The Falcons (1-21, 1-14), seeded #8, will now take on #5-seeded Mt. San Antonio College in the consolation semifinals at Long Beach City College at 7:00 p.m. on Friday.

Against the Warriors (19-5, 14-1), who were the regular season co-champions, Cerritos fell behind, 9-1 in the first set and struggled to get their game going. They would get as close as 19-14, thanks in part to a pair of kills from sophomore Alexia Torres (Downey HS). But El Camino went on to score six of the final seven points in the match to take a one-set lead. Battling to stay close early in the second set, the Falcons were down just 6-5, but once again, the Warriors were successful in scoring points in bunches, as they opened up a 16-7 advantage. Making a late run, two kills from sophomore Sierra Hernandez-Hardy (Bishop Amat HS), and another from sophomore Brooke Winquist (Carlsbad International School, Czechia), closed the score to 20-14. But after El Camino regained their serve, they closed out the match by scoring the next five points.

In the third set, the Falcons took a 6-4 lead on two Torres kills, as well as one from Winquist and freshman Cameron Puente (Mayfair HS). The lead would be short-lived, with El Camino posting seven of the next eight points for an 11-7 lead. Cerritos knotted the game at 10-10 and after a Hernandez-Hardy kills, trailed just 15-13. However, the third set would prove to be similar to the other two sets, with the Warriors coming on strong and closed out the match with 10 of the final 12 points for the sweep.

Hernandez-Hardy led the team with eight kills and 12 digs, while Torres added seven kills and Winquist posted five kills. Freshman setter Mirka Granoble (Downey HS) dished out 20 assists and added a kills, while Puente accounted for three kills and sophomore Lizbeth Vega (Paramount HS) contributed eight digs from the back row.