East County Sports

Hawks finally get win over Warriors

By Nick Pellegrino

ECS staff writer

EL CAJON —- A week ago, a parent of a San Diego Christian College women’s volleyball payer was visiting from out-of-town to watch his daughter play. He asked an interesting question: “What will it take for the Hawks to become nationally ranked?”

Sure, the club was off to a 6-1 start, but the answer was simple: beat a nationally-ranked opponent.

No one said it would be easy, but on Friday (Sept. 24) night, the Hawks did just that.

In perhaps the biggest victory in program history, SDCC was pushed to the brink of blowing a 2-games-to-0 lead but survived a tie-breaker game that went into overtime to win 16-14 to down 25th-ranked Westmont in five sets.

Game scores of the Golden State Athletic Conference match were 25-15, 25-23, 19-25, 21-25, 16-14.

The triumph was the first since 2005 over the powerful Warriors, a longtime national power with several NAIA national championships. The Hawks’ online record book shows the win snapped an 0-for-33 winless stretch, but the streak dates back even further to 2005.

However, no one was complaining before a raucous house of fans at Salvation Army Center.

“There was a little of — it’s really hard to describe — déjà vu when we also led Westmont, 2-0, but we lost the match,” said Hawks captain Jessica Pinasco. “But when we were getting a little overwhelmed, the bench and everyone in the gym helped us keep our energy and our focus centered.”

The tiebreak saw the lead change hands four times before being deadlocked at 14-14, forcing the extended play. SDCC called a timeout, then quickly grabbed the next two points which sent the visitors packing back to Santa Barbara.

A kill by Pinasco would re-claim the lead. The Hawks then served to allow Westmont a chance to get even, but an attack error on a spike sailing “wide to the side” ended the match.

“There was a lot of game left, but we played like it was never over and kept our errors to a minimum,” she added. “In the fifth set, we were tired, but it was a matter of who wanted it more.”

Kudos went around from head coach Geee Kreiger.

“Anu (Anuhea Kaohi) had a great match, hitting .345 and the team served up 9 aces,” he noted. “The sub-five error ratio is our best of the season.”

“The packed crowd made it a fantastic environment.  Everybody in attendance will remember the night that we beat Westmont for the first time in a long time. It was a very memorable and exciting night.”

For the Hawks (7-3 overall, 3-2 GSAC), Pinasco led with 16 kills, one of three spikers reaching double figures. The others were Isabella Marshall (14 kills) and Anuhea Kaohi (12). Pinasco also led with 22 digs, while libero Kayli Barrera added a dozen.

Added Kreiger. “San Diego Christian displayed the confidence, poise, and grit that a winning team must possess. We can play with the best that the NAIA has to offer.”

San Diego Christian heads for Santa Clarita to meet The Master’s University on Saturday at 6 p.m.


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