By Ray Hamill — After clinching a dramatic five-sets win over Canada on Saturday, the Corsairs will try to make it two straight wins when they host Shasta at College of the Redwoods on Wednesday.
A young Corsairs squad capped a busy three days on the volleyball court with their third win of the year at home to Canada, rallying to pull out the victory.
This week, they’ll try to carry the momentum from that game into a very winnable matchup against Shasta, before hosting a dominant Butte team on Friday.
“They have some hitters with some power,” CR head coach Petra Lorenzi said of the Knights, who come into the matchup at 0-3 in the Golden Valley Conference and 6-17 overall. “But I think we have the defense to stop those hitters.”
The CR women have been steadily improving, according to the coach, and have been competing better in games.
After falling on the road to conference leaders Feather River last Thursday, the Corsairs lost in five sets at Lassen on Friday, before returning home in the early hours of Saturday morning and knocking off Canada in five sets that afternoon.
And what most impressed the coach was her players’ mental strength.
“It was a quick turnaround, and I was very proud of the performance. They stepped up when they needed to,” Lorenzi said.
After a fast start to the game, the CR women dropped the second and third sets, before closing out by winning two straight sets to pull out the come-from-behind win, winning each of the last two sets by the minimum.
“They did a great job of mentally pulling together and overcoming mental fatigue,” Lorenzi said. “That was a tight battle, and when it gets down to that, it comes down to basically which team is mentally tougher.”
Ariana Galelgos and Elise Wilson continue to set the tone for the team.
Gallegos, the team’s top setter, has settled in quickly after moving from New Mexico.
“Ariana has been doing a phenomenal job of running the court, of setting up our offense, and being an offensive threat herself” Lorenzi said.
Wilson, meanwhile, is one of just four sophomores, and continues to make her presence felt.
“She probably averages 15-to-18 digs a game, which is pretty solid,” the head coach said. “And she’s really a key brick in our service receive.She probably receives around 80 percent of our service balls.”
Eureka’s Jessica Simon has also been one of the team’s most consistent performers, rarely subbing out, while Del Norte’s Alondra Ledezma has become one of the team’s most consistent offensive threats.
“She came through with 10 kills (against Canada), and really did it in crucial situations,” the coach said of Ledezma. “She’s kind of our key go-to hitter.
“Jessica, she’s consistent in the front row, taking great swings, and she’s one of the best servers in the conference, and really been a key part of our defense.”
Fortuna’s Mikenzie Palotas also had a big week last week, and has been “very steady in the middle, and she’s really a reliable hitter,” according to the coach.
The Corsairs, 0-3 in conference and 3-11 on the season, will host both of this week’s games at 6 p.m.