Slow start doesn't faze Gavilan In quarterfinals win over Cypress

Gavilan's Teresa Ochoa makes a dig during the Rams quarterfinal win over Cypress on Saturday night, photo by David Sanborn for the CCCAA.
Gavilan's Teresa Ochoa makes a dig during the Rams quarterfinal win over Cypress on Saturday night, photo by David Sanborn for the CCCAA.

(Fairfield, Calif.) -- Cypress College was on a roll, a roll for the ages. The Chargers scored the first 11 points of their Friday quarterfinal match of the CCCAA Women's Volleyball State Championship. That meant 22 consecutive points for Cypress in the postseason after scoring the last 11 points of their Round 2 Regional in a stunning 5-set comeback win over Long Beach.

The points streak finally ended and so would the magical late-season run by Cypress as Gavilan College recovered from the early deficit and despite losing that first set went on to run away from the Chargers, 15-25, 25-9, 25-18, 25-17, at Solano College. The Rams won their state-2018 best and program record 30th match (30-1 overall) and advance to the state semifinals v. Fresno City College on Saturday night at 5 p.m.

Cypress, the only team to beat state No. 1 Irvine Valley in the past two seasons, had its season end at 19-9 and finished in a a 4-way tie for 5th place at the tourney. The Chargers were led by Kayla Owens with 14 kills and 10 digs and Jane Woodward, who had 10 kills and five blocks. 

Gavilan's comeback was keyed by Coach Kevin Kramer's wildcard off the bench in opposite Flo Tukuaoga, who scored eight kills and added two blocks. Tukuaoga did not play in the first set defeat. Teresa Ochoa had 10 kills (hit .529, 17 attempts). Mikeila Banda added 16 digs. Gavilan's serving resulted in 13 aces, four by Katia Dizon and three from Kieley Hoskins (plus 20 assists). Evelyn Clonts scored seven kills and four blocks 

"Just to win 30 matches is a milestone we may never match again," Kramer said. "I kept Tukuaoga on the bench the first set because I didn't want to Cypress to know we would go to her. She did the exact same thing to spark us as she did in the regionals v. Feather River (14 kills in reserve). Our team does a good job of following my serve calling. We really serve tough and Dizon has such a great jump serve. She hasn't played all that much and came from beach volleyball, but she is another player we can bring from the bench for results."

Cypress made 30 attack errors and totaled only 24 kills in the last three sets combined. After only picking up seven kills in the opening set, Gavilan scored 35 kills and hit .579 in the second set alone. 

In the second set, Gavilan roared back with a 12-3 run and then took a 20-6 lead before finishing off a 16-point rout. In set 3, Cypress led 4-1, then 16-14, but again the Rams responded with a big 11-2 rally that capped that win. In set 4, the Chargers led 4-0 and 11-9, but the story never changed. Gavilan took the lead for good at 15-14 as Woodward scored three kills in the latter part of the game to finish off the match.

Three of the four North region teams advanced to the semifinals with only defending state champion Irvine Valley remaining from the South. In Saturday's first semifinal at 2 p.m., IVC plays American River.

release by Robert Lewis, CCCAA/CCCWVCA