By Donna Lane
The Lady Jaguars were swept by the Skyline Trojans on Wednesday, September 25, at the Jaguar Center. Struggling with a depleted bench, SJCC relied on its nucleus of remaining starters, but it wasn?t enough.
?This is a match that started with us already at a deficit,? admitted head coach Jason Dupler. ?We lost two starters who?ve been here all season and are putting players in positions they?re not used to playing.?
Notably absent were former team member Jordan Peetz, who has left the team, and OH Tati Iosefa, who was ill.
Though the first set opened with a lengthy rally and featured some spirited exchanges early on, the Lady Jags lacked energy against the Trojans. With reserves feeling their way through the new positions, stalwarts like MB Bella Harnden, S Brianna Su?a, OPP Nicole Ortiz and L Bella Marinas offered solid contributions. But it took too long for the new lineup to settle into a groove, and Trojans took the set 25-14.
The second set showed better communication and teamwork from SJCC. With the lead alternating back and forth, the Lady Jaguars seemed livelier. An authoritative spike by Ortiz injected some much-needed energy into the SJCC squad. Likewise, an unexpected block by DS Aly Graham helped the team get back on its feet. But despite the consistent efforts of Su?a and Marinas, an abundance of unforced errors eventually led to the Lady Jags losing this set 25-19.
Looking to take the must-win set, the Lady Jaguars shook things up by putting DS Johanna Garcia in a Libero. They were off to a strong start, with Ortiz tapping it over the net for the side out, and then Graham serving a scorching ace. The Lady Jags went on a run, putting up 7 unanswered points. At 7-1, SJCC immediately got the side out to regain possession. A pair of kills by Harnden, and efficient blocks by Harnden and Su?a seemed to put the Jags on course for the win. Unfortunately, more miscues resulted in the lead slipping away. Skyline answered back, chipping away at first and then taking the lead, going on to defeat SJCC 25-18.
Though the match was disappointing, Dupler recognized the opportunity for improvement.
?We were only hitting .059, our passing ratio was way below standard, and we had 10 serving errors,? he said. ?I told the team that the bottom line is this: The reason the score ended up like it did is our unforced errors. We can?t hit balls out, we can?t have so many service errors. We were very undisciplined tonight, and that?s uncharacteristic for us.?
Despite the loss, Dupler is optimistic about the team?s abilities going forward. He said he expects to add a new player soon, which should help bolster the lineup.
?Tonight showed that missing two starters had a huge impact on us,? he said. ?We?ll have to regroup next week.?
SJCC will seek redemption against Skyline in their next match, which will be at Skyline on Wednesday, October 2. Their next home game will be on Friday, October 4, against West Valley at 6:30 p.m.