By Arcel Cunanan
The Rams volleyball began their drive towards the playoffs with a convincing victory over the Chabot Gladiators in four sets (25-10, 22-25, 25-12, 25-21) on Oct. 29 at the Wellness Center.
“The whole team played great. They all communicated as far as volleyball goes,” said Head Coach Ed Parker. “Everybody stepped up.”
Coming out with great intensity and a lot of communication on the court, The Rams were able to gain a quick seven point lead, forcing the Gladiators to call a time out at 7-0. The Rams won the set on a kill by libero Amanda Ly, closing the up the first set at 25-10.
The Rams began the second set a little lethargic, allowing the Gladiators to maintain the lead. The Rams’ concentration began to diminish as frustrations grew on the court. A time out was called by the Rams when they fell behind 20-13. The Gladiators withstood a furious rally from the Rams and held on to win set two at 22-25.
“I felt like the errors were on our side. We made the mistakes. They really didn’t do anything special. We just had a moment. It fell away from us,” said Associate Coach Aziza Bledsoe.
Down 4-1 early in the third set, the Rams picked up the intensity and were able to finish by dominating in the third set. The Gladiators seemed to start falling apart, as the Rams took the lead for good and went up 19-9. At game point, Chabot set the ball up to their middle back row player, who swung too hard and in the wrong direction, causing the ball to go out of bounds, and allowing the Rams to win set three 25-12.
The third set’s momentum followed the Rams into set four, but the Rams allowed Chabot to once again gain the lead. The fourth set was back and forth throughout, but straightened out at 22-21 when a call was made on a questionable block, resetting the score at 21-21. After the call was made, the reset score gave Chabot the chance to earn a critical point. Even though tension on the court and in the crowd was showing, but that didn’t slow the Rams down.
The Rams got their point back after making an incredible kill that made the crowd go wild. At game point, sophomore Poelele Malepeai made a kill that skidded off the arms of one of the unsuspecting Gladiators. The Rams closed the fourth and final set at 25-21.
“It’s really hard to deal with referees. It didn’t affect us any. We still won the game,” said Bledsoe in response to the call.
After the game, Parker was optimistic about the team’s upcoming matches.
“It’s a great attitude and positive energy to start our second half of the season. Next week we are hoping to continue with the same attitude that we have.”
Looking ahead, the Rams will have three straight road games against De Anza, Foothill, and Monterey, returning for their final home match on Nov. 19 against Skyline College at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Health and Wellness Center.