Gauchos sophomore outside hitter, Kaylee Douglas, (Left, in the air) spikes against Rio Hondo. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)
The Gauchos players look promising in their matches under head coach, Brian Hughes, this season. His players are making plays, handling the pressure and they look good playing college level women’s volleyball.
“I thought we were playing pretty evenly as we matched up to them,” Hughes said. “These matches were a challenge, preparing all week in extreme heat.”
Gauchos freshman Mariah Miller sets a play to spark the home court fans. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)
Saddleback came up short in the match losing first 25-23, second 25-8 and third 25-21. Chaffey College took all three of them. Chaffey’s front line was taller with lots of maneuvers made on the Gauchos blockers in all three matches.
“We had a run at the beginning in the first match,” sophomore middle blocker Kelley Hill said. “Then we let up, which we shouldn’t ever do and let Chaffey back into the game.”
Once sophomore outside hitter, Kaylee Douglas, gets going with some really good spikes on the ball, she rallies her team. It’s a learning period now for the Gauchos while they develop their skill level.
“I thought Chaffey fought hard, we would’ve fought harder,” freshman Mariah Miller said.
The Gauchos challenge players to protect their home court early in the season. When Saddleback can win matches at home, they can improve their season standing.
“It’s early in the season to talk about how good we are going to be,” Hughes said. “There’s a lot of things we need to work on.”
Once the Gauchos blockers learned to maneuver against the Chaffey spikers in the match, it was interesting to watch their efforts.
The Gauchos also went up against Rio Hondo College, but lost all three matches to them: 25-20, 25-23 and 25-18.
“That’s part of the process to go and work on stuff and go and get better every day,” Hughes said. “We are putting ourselves in a situation in practice that we are working hard in practice every day.”
Rio Hondo players were taller up front. Two impressive college women’s volleyball teams were going toe-to-toe in diving for balls and some players would get the dig. The players’ plan was to set a spike or tip where no opposing player could defend.
“All the girls are playing well in different areas,” Hughes said. “They are all contributing and we are trying to learn and grow as a team right now.”
Saddleback’s next match will be on the road at Santa Monica College at 6 p.m.