It took five sets for the Riverside City College Tigers to take down the College of the Desert Roadrunners on Friday evening in Wheelock Gym in what turned out to be an early-season nail biter. Highlighted by a thrilling fifth set, the Tigers managed to regain a spark after spoiling a two-set advantage and defeat the Roadrunners with scores reading 25-16, 25-15, 17-25, 22-25, 15-13.
The Tigers were on cruise control in the first two sets by winning both sets by a significant margin. Cruise control may have become much too comfortable leading into the third set, as Desert rallied to take back the next two and set up a five-set jaw dropper.
In the final set, the Tigers jumped out to an early 4-2 advantage after freshman outside hitter Darricka Hewitt (Riverside, CA) hammered home a kill that was facilitated by freshman setter Taylor Gardner (Colton, CA) – one of many assists from the freshman facilitator. However, the Roadrunners went on a four-point spurt to put Riverside in a 4-6 hole.
Hewitt brought them back to within a point with another kill, backed by a block by freshman middle Lauren Dunmore (Northridge, CA) and freshman outside hitter Kyndra Jordan-Thomas (Victorville, CA) to bring the score to seven apiece.
After a small three-point spurt by the Roadrunners, the Tigers clawed their way back to a tied score at 11-11 compliments of consecutive kills by freshman opposite Madison Bogh (Highland, CA) and freshman outside hitter Marcella Rodriguez (Belize City, Belize).
The Tigers ended on a three-point run that included another Hewitt kill and a pair of attacking errors by Desert thus leading to a 3-2 victory.
Despite dropping the third and fourth sets, the Tigers did not own a single negative team hitting percentage. Their highest output was in the second set where they earned a .300 hitting percentage (8-for-20). Additionally, they maxed out at 10 team kills in the fourth set.
Hewitt led the squad with 10 kills and was the lone Tiger in double-digits. Rodriguez backed her with nine kills to go along with a game-high 16 digs.
Gardner acted as the point person of the offense by notching 18 assists to go along with four drop-shot kills. Freshman setter Tessie Evalu (Wildomar, CA) and freshman libero Natalie Escher (Redlands, CA) combined for 10 assists as well. Escher also earned 12 digs.
The Tigers (2-0) will continue play on Wednesday, September 6th as they host the RCC Quad. They begin with a showdown against Mt. San Jacinto at 3 p.m. followed by a game against Citrus at 7 p.m.