STOCKTON, Calif. - The tide has changed in California Community College women's volleyball the past few seasons. Not only has the North region produced three of the last four state champions, the annual early litmus test—the San Joaquin Delta Classic--doesn't necessarily mean winning in Stockton means winning at state.
In fact, it was '16 Delta runner-up Fresno City that won its first-ever CCCAA state championship last season and in '15, Cabrillo didn't even make the DC final but went on to win the state crown that year.
On Sept. 9, it was the two most recent state champs going jump-for-jump with Cabrillo rallying from two sets down to edge Fresno in five sets for the '17 Delta Classic title. Cabrillo won the final of the 16-team classic, 23-25, 15-25, 25-13, 25-15, 15-10, and grabbed the No. 1 ranking in the first CCCWVCA State Top 25 this week.
"This was our first competition of the season. With nine new players (eight of them freshmen), I wasn't sure how we were going to match up," said Cabrillo head coach Gabby Houston-Neville. "I know that the North has a lot of really good teams this year, and I'm just super happy with how everyone played. In the final, I think we really defined ourselves coming back from the 0-2 deficit to win it."
Tourney MVP and sophomore MB Rebecca Lee helped key the finals comeback with seven of her eight kills and a .500 kill percentage over the final three sets. First-year OH Ellie Cary recorded a match-high 15 kills and frosh setter Mari Molina had 40 assists with 18 digs.
"We switched to a 5-1 offense in the final three sets, and Mari had 34 of her assists in those games," Houston-Neville said. "It was a team effort for sure. Everyone contributed for us. I'm looking forward to seeing how we progress from here."
All-Tourney selections included sophomore libero Alyssa Nelson (26 of her 73 digs at the tourney in the final) and freshman Bella Bress, who had a triple-double in the last match on 13 kills, 12 digs and 10 assists. In Cabrillo's four victories, Lee scored 40 kills and 15 block assists and frosh OH Jolie Samuelson had 45 kills and 43 digs.
The Seahawks swept Reedley, beat Butte in four sets and downed host San Joaquin Delta in three sets in the semifinals to reach the final.
Defending state champ Fresno CC had two players make the All-Tourney team in sophomore OH Makayla Cervantes (12 kills, 21 digs in final) and second-year setter Ally Cooper (70 assists in the four matches). The Rams were impressive in sweeping Solano, American River and Feather River and had 11 straight set wins before Cabrillo staged its comeback. Frosh OH Katie Emmerling scored 40 kills in the team's four matches.
For the tourney host Delta, freshman OH Amilya Thompson was an All-Delta Classic Tourney selection after pounding 53 kills (20 in a 4-set win over Santa Rosa JC). The Mustangs scored sweeps over Shasta and Feather River in finishing 3-1. Fellow semifinalist Feather River picked up an All-Tourney choice in frosh MB Brooke Michaels.
Fresno (No. 5), Delta (No. 7) and Feather River (No. 10) all were in the top 10 state ranked teams following the tourney.
(Courtesy Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA SID)