Bakersfield College volleyball coach Carl Ferreira had the same response to the dozens of fans, parents and BC community members that approached him in the Gil Bishop Sports Center on Tuesday night.
“Tough game. They were a great team,” Ferreira repeatedly said about the El Camino squad that had just ended the Renegades season.
For the third year in a row, BC’s year ended with a loss the Warriors in the Southern California Regional Championships. In 2015, it was in the second round. In 2016, they met in the second round as well. This year, No. 11 El Camino beat No. 6 Bakersfield College in three sets (25-20, 25-14, 25-21) in the first round. It was BC’s first hosted playoff game since 2012.
“I honestly thought we played well,” Ferreira said. “El Camino played better. They were hard to handle.”
Middle blocker Brooke Horack led the Renegades (19-6, 7-1 Western State South) with 10 kills. Libero Haley Sanchez had a team-high 10 digs. But BC, which was 10th in the state with 12.3 kills per set, was held to just 31 kills overall.
The Warriors (20-5, 7-1 South Coast South) have now won nine games in a row.
El Camino overpowered BC at the net and used its superior athleticism to score points. It stacked its bigs on block attempts, making it hard for the Renegades to muster many kills. The Warriors roster featured five players 5-foot-11 or taller with outside hitter Jaylin Motley leading the way at 6-foot-1.
BC sophomore hitter Alex Paris, who led the team with 3.26 kills per set during the regular season, was held to just four kills total.
“They’re gonna be a tough out for whoever plays them unless you can match them physically at the net,” Ferreira said.
Those same aspects made the Warriors hard to block. Their offense didn’t work on speed of setting up attacks. The Warriors would slowly set balls high to one another, using their jumping ability to create different angles of hits to block.
El Camino freshman middle blocker Renee Brydon ended the third set with a powerful spike that echoed around the gym and surprised even her own teammates.
“Their hitters were just better than our blockers,” Horack said.
“Your block is in a really good spot, but your arms can't quite reach from the angle to where it crosses over the net so we’re taking some risks on where we place our (blockers) and they still could keep it going around us,” Ferreria said. “A little frustrating to be in the correct spot and they could still execute at a high level.”
With BC trailing El Camino, 23-21, in the third and final set, Renegades women’s basketball coach Paula Dahl urged all the fans in the gym to stand up and started a “We are BC” chant with the crowd.
Two points later, Paris came up with a block that the team initially thought landed in play on the other side of the net. But it fell just outside the boundary and once again El Camino handed the Renegades their final loss of the year.