(Walnut, CA) In one of the most successful seasons for the Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball program, which included a South Coast Conference Championship, the Mounties lost in the 2nd Round of the CCCAA Southern California Regionals, 3-1, to visiting Santa Monica on Tuesday (November 22).
The Mounties, who were seeded 6th in the 20-team playoffs, lost 27-29, 29-27, 25-27, 25-19.
"I left the team (Tuesday) with the sentiment of thank you, "Neely said. "I thanked them for, number one, bringing excitement back to this volleyball program. We talked about the two-year program. This group right here is really special.
"Although we didn't plan for this (loss) and would've hoped to go a little bit further, I'm so grateful for this group, especially our first year (2021) as a coaching staff.
"Although the outcome wasn't what we wanted it was an exciting game and they fought for every point."
With a large and boisterous crowd behind the Mounties, which would be their final match in the Mt. SAC gymnasium, three of the four sets went beyond the 25-point win total.
A new arena and pool complex will be opening in early 2023.
Mt. SAC finished with an overall record of 19 wins and 5 losses and 11-1 in the conference.
Second-year coach Samantha Neely took an all-freshman team last year to the brink of winning the SCC tournament title.
This year they won the conference title outright.
Four players were in double figures for kills, led by JJ Quarrels (7 Digs, 3 SA) with a match-high 14, followed by Riley DeGroot (4 D, 1 SA) with 11 kills and Angelina Burton (2 D, 1A) and Allison Whiteman (6 D) with 10 kills each.
"This is the first full team that Sam (Coach Samantha Neely) and Danielle (Diaz) had recruited together," Quarrels said. It's been great playing for them the past two years. It taught me a lot. It's the best team I've ever been on.
"It's insane (the crowd support) and just feels so electric on the court."
Quarrels talked about the future of the program after the success of the past season.
"It feels great having a ton of returners from last year kind of setting the tone for the freshmen this year," she said. "I hope we instilled some good lessons and work ethic that they can take to next season and keep a successful program."
Both the first and second sets went into extra points with every point going back and forth.
With Santa Monica leading 1-0 in sets, Mt. SAC was tied late in the second set, 25-25, and won four of the last six points to even the match at one set each.
Highlighting the last few points was a booming kill by Burton and a service ace by Zyra Green to give the Mounties a set point.
In the third set, with the Corsairs holding a one-point lead, 24-23, Quarrels had a kill to even the set, 24-24. Mt. SAC took its last lead on an attack error by Santa Monica, 25-24, but the Corsairs won the last two points for the 2-1 set advantage.
In the fourth and final set, the Mounties trailed, 12-6, and closed the gap to 24-19, which was highlighted by a service ace by DeGroot and a kill by Whiteman. The Corsairs ended the set with a kill to win the match and the season for the Mounties.
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.