The Virginia Peninsula Community College women’s volleyball team capped off its second season of intercollegiate competition Saturday with a third-place finish in the New South Athletic Conference Invitational.
The Gators, who finished the season 3-4, opened the tournament, which was held at Heritage High School in Newport News, with a 12-25, 14-25, 22-25 loss to Appalachian Bible College. They bounced back with a 25-9, 25-13, 26-24 victory over Mid-Atlantic Christian in the consolation match.
Coach Tommy Thomas said the Gators did much better receiving serve and on defense in their second match of the day.
“When you pass well, you can run your offense,” he said. “Our offense is really fast tempo, but if we don’t pass, we can’t run what we want to do. Being an undersized team, you have to run tempo.”
Against MACU, the Gators never trailed in the first two games. The third game was much closer. The Gators’ biggest lead was at 17-13, but the Mustangs fought back to earn a game point at 24-24. However, the Gators scored the next three points to close out the match.
Fenix Camarillo led the Gators with 15 kills. Ashleigh Yost had nine blocks, Carlee Watson added 19 assists and four aces, Mylo DeSue had seven assists, Sydney Watson had five aces, and Aniya Booker nine digs.
Against Appalachian Bible College, the score was tied at 10 in the first game before ABC closed on a 15-2 run to end the game. In the second game, the Gators were down just 12-8 before ABC went on another big run, 13-6, for the win. The third game was much closer as the Gators took an early lead, fell behind, then closed to 23-21. They saved one match point before losing the third game 25-22.
In that match, Camarillo had eight kills and eight digs, and Watson had 13 assists.
ABC went on to win the tournament with a five-set victory over Virginia University - Lynchburg.
Three days before the conference tournament, the Gators wrapped up the regular-season portion of their schedule with a straight-sets victory over Cheney University at Heritage High School. The scores were 25-13, 25-16, 25-19. It was the second time in two weeks the Gators swept the Wolves.
The official part of the season is over, although the Gators will be playing in club tournaments the next two weekends.
Thomas, is in his first season leading the Gators, was pleased with the season.
“It really went pretty well,” he said, noting most of their competition was against four-year schools, not other community colleges.
“We held our own,” he said. “We beat three four-year schools, held on against Bryant and Stratton, held on against Pitt (Community College).
“I’m happy with the season,” he added.
With five players back (DeSue, Yost, Wallace, Booker, and Jillian Stinson), he thinks he has a good foundation set for next season. He’s hoping to increase the numbers. He had just eight players at the end of the season and would like to have between 12-15 next year.
For more information on VPCC and its athletics programs, visit www.vpcc.edu.