Tue, Oct. 9, 2012 - [Volleyball]
Article Courtesy of Vanessa Curry, Tyler Morning Telegraph
In the beginning it seemed too good to be true.
But the fact is the Apache Ladies volleyball team did win two games on Friday against the No. 1 ranked Division I junior college team in the nation.
They just didn't win the match.
San Jacinto College came back to force a decisive and wild fifth game to claim a 3-2 (19-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-23, 19-17) win on Tyler Junior College's home court at Wagstaff Gymnasium.
The final game featured eight ties, four lead changes and two controversial calls from a line judge.
TJC was leading 12-11 when an attempted kill hit the deep left corner of San Jac's side. The line judge began to signal the ball in, but then called it out, resulting in a tie score.
Two plays later, TJC again hit a ball deep to the back line, but it went out. The same line judged called a touch against San Jac, giving the Apache Ladies a point.
Both calls were challenged by the respective coaches.
TJC again tied the score at 17 with a kill from Jacqueline Santos that was so powerful it knocked San Jac's defensive specialist Julia Mehart backward and onto the floor when she attempted to return the ball.
San Jac then sealed the win with a tip over two TJC blockers and a double-hit call on the last play.
"I'm proud of the girls, they worked hard," TJC coach Ronda Shirley said. "We had a game plan against them and worked it."
She said the team played a much better game this time than earlier this season when they played in Pasadena. In that match, TJC did not record any blocks and San Jac won "pretty easily" in three games, she said.
"Of course it's hard to swallow (Friday's loss) when you come out and win the first two and not finish it off," Shirley said. "We were staying composed and doing a good job and I just don't think we brought the same fire in game three and four."
San Jac coach Sharon Nelson said she and her team knew the capabilities of TJC, which showed during the first two games.
"Tyler did well. I'm not going to take that away from them," she said. "We didn't take care of business like we needed to. And then after Game 2 we decided we needed to at least make this a game."
San Jac played Game 5 without its starting middle blocker Oni Lattin who injured her ankle in Game 4. Teammate Marie-Pierre Bakima, a 5-10 outside hitter also tallied several kills after being shut down by the Apache Ladies defense earlier in the match.
TJC, currently ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA poll, is undefeated in conference play, but dropped to 18-3 overall. San Jac is 24-1 overall.
Immediately after Friday's match ended the Apache Ladies boarded a bus for Saturday games against Coastal Bend College and Wharton College