With the spring semester winding down and April marching steadily into summer, the Dons sand volleyball team started the first wave of postseason play at the Orange Empire Conference individual championships on a gloomy Wednesday, April 22, at Golden West College.
“These are the best partners in the OEC matched up against each other,” Head Coach Troy Abbey said.
Sand volleyball completed its inaugural season as a state-sanctioned sport. The individual championship pits teams of two in a head-to-head match-up. In this format, pairs from the same college may face off.
“As a team, we started off in preseason trying to figure it all out. We beat a lot of teams who were strong indoors, and that’s awesome because Southern California is considered, most likely, the capital of volleyball,” freshman Chloe Anderson said.
Anderson plays on the No.1 team, which is the best duo the squad could muster from its roster. Paired with freshman Bobby Woodcock, the two advanced to the second round of the OEC championships after beating El Camino College’s No. 5 team, 2-1.
“We go over a lot of specific things that we need to work on together,” Woodcock said.
“I’m really proud of the improvements we have made.”
Out of the five teams Santa Ana College fielded for the postseason tournament, the only other pair to advance is the No. 2 team of Miraya Kunipo-Aguirre and Michelle Nguyen. They defeated Antelope Valley College’s No. 3 team in straight sets.
“Our No. 2s, in many ways, has been our top team. They killed the other team today,” Abbey said.
The Dons found sunshine as a way to sweat the stink out of a bad indoor season. Last fall, SAC limped to a 4-17 finish. The outdoor team won four of nine games this spring.
“When we would all go out there and lose, it was draining,” Anderson said. “But winning feels great.”
For continuing coverage of the individual playoffs and the team championships on April 28 and May 2 at Irvine Valley College visit eldonnews.org. Match play starts at noon on both days.