Volleyball team struggles

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By Analicia Najera and Dutches Richards / Times Staff 

The San Jose City College women’s volleyball team struggled in the Ohlone College Spring Ball Tournament.

This was an opportunity for 11 colleges to have a preview of the other teams for the upcoming 2012 season. Throughout the tournament, SJCC performed strongly in the beginning of the games,but lost to the nine teams they competed against.

SJCC, Ohlone, De Anza, Napa, San Jose State University’s club team, Solano College, Alameda, Hartnell, American River, Gavelin and Monterey Peninsula colleges each played a total of nine games from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ohlone College on March 10.

Eight returning SJCC volleyball players and two incoming freshman struggled offensively but competed closely with many teams, said women’s volleyball head coach, Tait Rafat.

Those 10 athletes are enrolled in either a day or night volleyball class on campus. The off-season classes are available to improve the team’s volleyball performance. The benefit of having off-season classes was evident in the team’s powerful serves during Saturday’s tournament.

“I think my overall performance was good,” said middle back Dania Carrillo, 18, history major. “There were some errors, but my teammates did well after having a three-month break and two new girls joining the team.”

Carrillo earned the team four points in the Alameda game with her blocks, kills and services.

To keep the costs down for the tournament, the players took the place of an official referee and officiated matches for other teams.

There were three courts set up inside the gym, so some players had to officiate when they were not competing and quickly fuel their bodies before their next match. It was a continuous and fast-paced game because the colleges were playing one set to 25 points with each team.

“It was a good start at building team chemistry,” Rafat said. “Also, it let all of the players play positions on the court that they may not have practiced before.”

Rafat said both setters, Michelle Reyes and Cathrine Nguyen, did a great job with their transitions from other positions. Nguyen had eight assists against Gavelin College, but the team struggled with errors on its side, falling short with the final score at 25-22.

They also came close to Alameda, losing 25-20.

“Not every team is perfect, but we’re trying to be the best by giving our best efforts on the volleyball court,” Carrillo said.

Even though SJCC’s volleyball team did not win a single game in the tournament, Carrillo said her coach’s good advice will improve the team’s skill for the upcoming season.

Rafat said, “I think that with some added offense for the fall, the team can be competitive in the conference.”