Chaffey College volleyball coach Larry Chowen didn’t expect any favors when it came to the playoff draw. And he didn’t get any.
The Panthers, who captured their first Foothill Conference title in nearly 20 years, will travel to Los Angeles Pierce for a 7 p.m. first round playoff game Tuesday.
Chaffey (14-6) drew the No. 16 seed in the Southern California region which earned it a date with the No. 1 seeded Brahmas (29-1). The Panthers can thank their lack of history and the weakness of the Foothill Conference.
“It’s pretty much what I expected,” Chowen said. “The winner of our conference usually gets a one or two seed and has to go on the road. We just have to go do the best we can and see what happens.”
The Panthers are led by sophomore middle blocker Tara Sawyer (178 kills, 99 blocks), the conference most valuable player. Its three other veterans are middle blocker Colleen Chancey (65 blocks) and setters Lauren Hall 249 assists) and Serina Diaz (423 assists).
The other sophomore, Nikita Johnson (160 kills), is a transfer from College of the Desert.
Rounding out the core group of players are libero Christine Luna (227 digs) and outside hitter Breeana Mayes (196 kills) – all freshmen.
“I don’t think we have reached our potential yet. This would be a good time to do it,” Chowen added. “I have seen us play really well and I have seen us play not so well. We’ll see which team shows up. We have nothing to lose and they have everything to lose.”
Pierce has a streak of 60 straight wins at home that dates back to October of 2002. They have won eight straight Western States Conference titles.
The Brahmas are led by sophomore setter Terry Soltani (905 assists, 46 aces), sophomore libero Ashley Clark (336 digs) and freshman outside hitter Sarah Martin (266 kills, 38 aces).
The winner next plays the survivor of the match between No. 8 Orange Coast (18-4) and No. 9 Pasadena (16-6).