CYPRESS, CA – The Cypress College women's volleyball team capped off the regular season with an upset victory at home over top-ranked Irvine Valley College. The No. 14 Chargers had the full support of the campus on Wednesday night, with an estimated 300 in attendance, as they knocked off the defending state champion Lasers in a five-set thriller (25-18, 17-25, 15-25, 25-16, 15-8), putting an end to their incredible 45-match winning streak.
"I felt like there was so much energy coming from the crowd," said freshman Savannah Johnson. "Having people cheer and just hearing the gym echo made me feel good. I'm sure that energy spread through the whole gym and that's why we pushed as hard as we could."
Johnson, who leads the Orange Empire Conference in blocks, put on a defensive clinic along with sophomore Jane Woodward, as the two combined for 11 blocks on the night. Sophomore setter Khamis Berneker finished with a career-high 45 assists. However, it was Cypress sophomore, Kayla Owens, who stole the show. Owens finished with career-highs in kills (27), digs (18), and blocks (5).
"Going against a big team, I just really wanted to play hard and give it my all," said Owens. "There was really nothing to lose for us tonight, so my mindset was just to keep pushing harder every point."
The Lady Chargers got off to a quick start, taking the opening set over the Lasers 25-18. Irvine Valley answered, dominating the second and third sets to take a 2-1 lead in the match. With their backs against the wall, the Chargers jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the fourth set. A big kill from Brittany Zavala, followed by a Marina Pilkington block helped extend the lead as Cypress would forth a fifth and final set.
Cypress would again take an early lead, going up 5-1 following an ace from Zavala, but back-to-back miscues for the Chargers put the Lasers right back in it. Freshman Marlene Rocha answered with another ace to extend the lead, before a block by Woodward would end the match.
"Ending the regular season with a bang against IVC before the playoffs, as a sophomore it means everything," added Owens. "We're going to have so much more momentum going into the playoffs knowing we already beat the number one team."
The 2018 CCCAA Women's Volleyball Playoffs are set to begin on Saturday, November 17. The bracket will be released on Friday.
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