Taft College Cougars Women's Volleyball

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Tiffany Mapusaga and Crystal "Lani" Kaiwi, both sophomore volleyball starters, were recognized as Bakersfield Jockey Club award winners on December 9, 2013 at Hodel's Country Dining on Olive Drive in Bakersfield.

Balance Helps Taft College Sweep West Hills
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 8, 2012

A balanced approach utilizing most of the roster guided Taft College to a Central Valley Conference volleyball sweep over visiting West Hills College Friday in the Cougar Sports Center.

The Cougars improved to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference after breezing past the Falcons 25-13, 25-18, 25-13. “We played a little slow,” was head coach Kanoe Bandy’s analysis.  “We were a little out of sorts.  It was frustrating.”

She used her bench liberally. “The good thing is, this week we were able to give everyone some conference game experience.”

The Cougars look to stay on the victory track.  It marked the second consecutive conference win after two tough five-set losses to Fresno and Porterville.

TC travels to Visalia Wednesday to take on College of the Sequoias and will host Reedley College on Friday.  First serve is at 6 both nights.

Chanel Cantere again paced the offense.  She had 18 kills and nine digs on the defensive side.
Tiffany Mapusaga had 10 kills and six digs.

Sina Mauga had a strong night at the net with six blocks – five of them stuff blocks.  She also had five kills.

Setter Rachel Kapesi had 38 assists and 11 digs.

Madison Lawley had four kills and Ono Taotofi five.

Lani Kaiwi and Tyra Williams both had nine digs, Kristen Kamakele four and Haley Walrath three.

Cougars Host No. 4 Fresno in Home Volleyball Opener
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 25, 2012

The road weary Taft College Volleyball team will finally get to play the gym they have been practicing in for nearly two full months.

The Cougars (8-3 overall, 1-0 in Central Valley Conference) will play their home opener Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Cougar Sports Center, and it’ll be a huge challenge.

That’s because five-time defending conference champion Fresno City College brings its experienced and talented team to town.

The Rams are ranked fourth in the state. The Cougars were 23rd in last week’s state poll.

“It’ll be nice to play at home for a change,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “But we have a challenge ahead of us. I’ve seen them play and Fresno has an outstanding team.”

Since the team began practicing on Aug. 1 the players and coaches have bused to Lancaster, Stockton (twice), Sacramento, Gilroy, Sonora and San Diego. On five occasions they played two matches a day.

In their final tune-up for the home opener, the Cougars won the championship at the San Diego City College tournament last Saturday.

They were led by sophomore outside hitter Chanel Cantere, who earned all-tuornament honors with her 33 kills and 31 digs.

The tourney format was best 2-of-3 in pool play and single games in the semi-finals and finals.

TC defeated Cerritos (25-23, 25-22), Rio Hondo (25-21, 25-17) and South Mountain (25-18, 25-13) in pool play, then beat Arizona Western (25-17) in the semi-finals and South Mountain again (28-25) in the title match.

Tiffany Mapusaga added 19 kills and 48 digs for the Cougars, Sina Mauga 18 kills and 13 blocks, and Madison Lawley 11 kills and 11 blocks.

TC Sweeps Columbia in Conference Opener
Taft Midway Driller
September 20, 2012

Taft College got off to a good start in the Central Valley Conference volleyball race Wednesday night with a road win over Columbia College. The Cougars swept the Claimjumpers 25-16, 25-10, 25-20.

The win pushed TC’s record to 8-3 overall as the Cougars get one final non-conference outing Saturday in the San Diego City College tournament before returning to CVC action, Wednesday with their first home match of the season. And it will be a tough one. TC will host five-time defending conference champion Fresno City College, currently ranked fourth in the state.

In the Columbia sweep, sophomore outside hitter Chanel Cantere was the spark with 11 kills and 10 digs. Madison Lawley had six kills and four stuff blocks and freshman Tiffany Mapusaga five kills and nine digs.

It was the debut match for freshman Tyra Williams, who missed the first 10 matches because of a back injury.  She finished the night with four kills and seven digs.

Taft College Volleyball Split Two Matches
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 17, 2012

Taft College opens the Central Valley Conference volleyball season Wednesday at Columbia College after splitting a pair of non-league matches in Gilroy. The Cougars travel to Columbia just outside Sonora to christen conference play with a 5 p.m. match against the Claimjumpers.
It will be the team’s 11th consecutive road contest, and they’ll play a few more on Saturday in the one-day San Diego City College tournament.

With the split in Gilroy the Cougars head into conference with a 7-3 record.

They swept Allan Hancock College 25-20, 25-11, 25-11) before getting swept by host Gavilan College 25-11, 25-22, 25-18.

The win over Hancock was a bit costly. “Our starting setter Kerstyn Randall went down with an ankle injury and will be out about two weeks,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy.   “A Hancock player came way under the net as Kerstyn was coming down after blocking.  We had to take her to the hospital.  Their trainer said he thought the ankle was broken.  It wasn’t, but it was as severe a sprain as I have seen in a long time.”

The loss of Randall may have rattled her teammates a bit.
“We played very well against Hancock but didn’t play well at all against Gavilan,” Bandy said.  “Gavilan played very, very well against us.”

Chanel Cantere once again paced the Cougars with 26 kills, 22 digs, a block and three serving aces. Freshman Rachel Kapesi came off the bench to take over when Randall went down and finished the night with 42 assists and 15 digs. Tiffany Mapusaga had 11 kills and 23 digs, Sina Mauga 12 kills and seven blocks, and Madison Lawley seven kills and five blocks.

Cougar Netters Split Matches in Sacramento
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 13, 2012

Taft College split a pair of non-conference volleyball matches Wednesday at American River College in Sacramento as the Cougars continue a string of road trips to the northern part of the state.

After defeating Shasta College in four sets (25-14, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12), the No. 23 ranked Cougars were swept by the host American River Beavers (25-19, 25-15, 25-17). ARC is ranked ninth in the first statewide poll of the season announced Wednesday.

The split puts TC’s record at 6-2.

“We played terrible,” was coach Kanoe Bandy’s assessment.  “We had a great warm-up.  At that point I’m thinking things are good.  But then we missed our first serve of the game and never gained momentum.  It was frustrating.”

Chanel Cantere continues to provide the spark. The 5-7 outside hitter led the team with 31 kills and 29 digs.Sophomore middle blockers Sina Mauga and Madison Lawley had solid performances. The 6-1 ½ Mauga had eight blocks and the 5-10 Lawley seven blocks and 12 kills.  Ono Taotofi had six blocks. “Most of our blocks were against Shasta,” Bandy said.  

Tiffany Mapusaga, Mauga and Taotofi all had nine kills.

Mapusaga had 26 digs and Kristen Kamakele and Kerstyn Randall had 14 each.

The Cougars make another NorCal trip today when they travel to Gilroy for another twin bill, this one against host and 24th ranked Gavilan College and Allan Hancock College.

Two other Central Valley Conference teams also are in the state top 25.

Undefeated defending champion Fresno City College is ranked fourth and Porterville (6-1) is 20th.

Cougar Volleyball Team Takes Consolation Title
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 10, 2012

Chanel Cantere continues to show her versatility in the early going after guiding Taft College to the consolation championship in the San Joaquin Delta Tournament in Stockton last weekend.
The 5-foot-7 sophomore recorded 58 kills on offense and 76 defensive digs in the four matches the Cougars played.

By going 3-1 in the tournament the Cougars are 5-1 in the pre-conference grind heading into another doubleheader Wednesday at American River College in Sacramento.
They split their Friday games, sweeping Solano 25-9, 25-18, 25-23, and getting swept by tourney runner-up Feather River 25-11, 25-17, 25-13).

On Saturday TC swept host Delta for the second time in three days (25-15, 25-15, 25-10) before clinching the consolation crown with a 25-21, 21-25, 25-11, 25-16 victory over Butte College.
“We finished up really strong,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy.  “Butte is a really good team – one of the best passing teams I’ve seen, but we did a good job.”

While Cantere was putting up impressive numbers, freshman outside hitter Tiffany Mapusaga chipped in 28 kills and 36 digs.

Bandy was especially satisfied with her team’s defensive work over the two days and four matches.  Part of the reason was a change in strategy. “Instead of having my labero (Kristen Kamakele) playing in the middle back, I put her on the left side,” Bandy said, “and had Chanel and Tiffany playing middle back.  That worked very well because they can also hit from the back row.”

Kamakele had 40 digs in the four matches.

Sophomores Ono Taotofi and Sina Mauga had 25 and 21 kills respectively, setter Kerstyn Randall contributed 39 digs and Rachel Kapesi 36.

The Cougars also blocked well. Mauga had 13, Madison Lawley 11, Taotofi six and Cantere four. “Against Delta I told Sina to follow No. 8 (Kaylyn Lackey) who is their most dominant hitter,” Bandy said.  “I think we stuffed her about six times and that ruined her confidence.”

She expects a major challenge from American River Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Sacramento.
ARC lost only to Feather River in the winner’s bracket of the Stockton tournament.

“I thought they were one of the top three teams in the tournament,” she said.
Reigning Central Valley Conference champion Fresno City College won the tournament after sweeping Feather River. FCC will christen the Cougars’ home season on Sept. 26.

CCCWVCA Feature: Fresno City College Captures SJ Delta Classic Tournament Title
Article written for the CCCWVCA by Robert Lewis, State Volleyball Publicist/Statistician
September 7-8, 2012

While many Northern California community colleges try to schedule matches almost from the beginning of the official start date, Fresno City College waited until it was time to enter the Ring of Fire or in this case open its season with the Rams’ annual appearance in the 16-team, San Joaquin Delta Classic Tournament.

Fresno couldn’t have asked for a better season debut as the Rams took all four of their matches, capping their first Delta title in five years in sweeping highly-touted Feather River in the championship match, 25-9, 25-22, 25-21. The Rams, 13th ranked in the CCCWVCA “Start of the Season” Top 25 Poll, swept Modesto and No. 14 Foothill in convincing fashion, then took down No. 16 Sierra in four sets, including an epic 34-32 second game. No. 18-ranked FRC swept eventual consolation champ Taft, survived a 5-set thriller over No. 9 American River that went 20-18 in the fifth game, and needed four games to defeat fourth-place Gavilan. The two-time defending Golden Valley Conference champion Golden Eagles ran out of steam in the title match. A perennial champion of the Central Valley Conference, Fresno was led in the tourney by MVP and sophomore MB Toni Murphy, who delivered 34 kills and 41 digs on the day.

Joining Murphy on the Delta Classic All-Tournament Team were sophomore setter Courtney Thacker, who totaled 52 assists In the Sierra victory, and frosh OH Yaya Castro, who pounded 44 kills and added 38 digs in the four matches. Murphy recorded a double-double in the championship final with 10 kills and 11 digs. Castro had 24 kills in the Sierra triumph.

“Our team was kind of chomping at the bit, having played basically against themselves in pre-season practices,” said Fresno head coach Tracy Ainger-Schulte. “We’re always shooting for consistent hitting, and at least a .250 percentage, and we had a .667, a .429 and a .320. I was very pleased with how we played. We were battle-tested here. Our playoff hopes (seedings) hinge on these first few weeks of the season, and I’m hoping we set the tone by winning here.”

With a sophomore-laden roster, Feather River had two make the All-Tournament team in outside hitters Callie Aberle and Amber Hall. In the ARC match, one that lasted two hours and 15 minutes, Hall rallied FRC from match point down in the fifth as she delivered three kills and capped the extra points final game win. Feather River head coach Sarah Ritchie was pleased with her team’s efforts.

“Hall never let up. She must have made five of the biggest hits I’ve ever seen late in that fifth game v. American River,” Ritchie said. “We’re fortunate to have a player like Aberle, who is one of the best serve-receive passers in the state. Every time we play ARC, it’s usually a long match. We got out of the gym late and we were a different team the second day. We were tired by the time we faced Fresno. While we are a big hitting team, Fresno is a smaller, jump-right-out-of-the-gym good athletic team. “ The Delta Classic has often produced some dramatic matches. This year’s tourney didn’t disappoint as Gavilan took a 5-gamer from No. 15 Sacramento City, Foothill went the distance to beat Butte and then did it again to take Diablo Valley, Modesto needed a 17-15 to edge San Francisco, and No. 16 Sierra rallied from 2-0 down to beat Cabrillo (15-12 in the fifth set).

Sierra had a very good showing with sweeps over San Francisco and Gavilan in the third-place final. The Wolverines were led by All-Delta Tournament selection and sophomore MB Julia Dorsey, who averaged four kills and 0.5 blocks a set in the four matches. Dorsey had a high of 16 kills in the Cabrillo win. Gavilan setter Sabina Gerard, a freshman who totaled 85 assists on Day 1, rounded out the All-DC Team. The Rams played short-handed with only nine players and without top sophomore OH Kayce Skocko (out with the flu). However, Gavilan’s fourth place finish was its best ever at Delta. Sophomore libero Kayondra Hood tallied 30 digs in the Sac City victory. Big 8 Conference power American River also left Stockton feeling good about itself with sweeps over Solano and Diablo Valley and an impressive 4-game victory over Cabrillo, winner of the 2010 and 2011 Delta titles.

 For Taft, 3-1 at the tourney, sophomore Chanel Cantere had a monster tournament with 58 kills and 76 digs over four matches. The Cougars join Porterville (did not participate at Delta) in what suddenly has become a stronger CVC and give Fresno some serious conference competition. In recent years, the Delta Tournament has served as a crystal ball for the North in foretelling what teams make it into the CCCAA State Final Four.

Last year, the two NorCal state participants played each other in the Delta championship with Cabrillo beating Santa Rosa in five games. In 2010, Cabrillo won the tourney and advanced to the Final Four, and in 2009, Sacramento won the Delta championship, and advanced to the then State Elite 8. In 2008, Delta won the title, but surprisingly missed out on the Final 8 when it was upended by Fresno in the Round 2 regionals.

 The last time the Delta Tournament title was decided by a finals sweep was in 2006 when Delta downed Sacramento in two games back when the tournament was a best 2-of-3 sets per match. Ritchie echoed Ainger-Schulte’s comments about the importance of playing a highly competitive pre-conference schedule.

Feather River’s competition in the GVC include unranked teams in Butte, Siskiyous, Shasta and Lassen. “Sometimes I questioned that we over-scheduled the first month of the year,” Ritchie said. “But we live out in the middle of nowhere (Quincy). We have to play as many teams that we think are going to make the playoffs as we can. The players laugh when I say this, but I tell them that they can rest when it’s conference.”

Cougars in Pink, Sweep Merced in Volleyball
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 17, 2011

Taft, Calif. —
The effort wasn’t pretty but the gym sure was. Taft College’s volleyball team earned its fifth Central Valley Conference sweep Friday in the Cougar Sports Center at its annual breast cancer awareness night.

The 25-21, 25-19 and 25-23 sweep of the Merced Blue Devils pushed the Cougars to 5-2 in the conference and 9-7 overall.  All five CVC wins were sweeps (West Hills, Columbia, Reedley, Sequoias and Merced) while both losses (Fresno and Porterville) also were sweeps.

The Cougars look to continue the spree Wednesday at 6 p.m. when they host West Hills to open the second round of conference play.

Cougar coach Kanoe Bandy was pleased her team won on the night the gym was splashed in pink ribbons to culminate breast cancer awareness week on campus, but she wasn’t happy with the performance.

“It really didn’t look good at all,” she said.  “We had too many errors.  In the end we did fine.  I thought we would play better because we did a really good job in practice.”

Freshman outside hitter Chanel Cantere, ranked sixth in the state, paced the offense with 12 kills to go with eight defensive digs. Sophomore middle blocker Brittany Peterson had 10 kills and three blocks.                        
Sophomore libero Jordyn Grissom led the defense with 12 digs, Kerstyn Randall had seven, Kristen Kamakele six, Dylan Parker four and Mele Yama three. Randall and Yama divided up the setting chores, getting credit for 18 and 11 assists respectively.

Merced (3-4 CVC, 8-10 overall) jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in the first set before the Cougars came to live with a 4-0 run.  It was point-for-point after that with 12 ties – the last one at 17 – and nine lead changes before the Cougars closed it out with back-to-back kills from Sina Mauga and Peterson.

TC raced out to a 7-0 lead in set two and managed to stay at least two points ahead the rest of the way.

The Cougars took a quick lead in game three but could not pull away.

Merced got to within one at 18-17 and tied it at 23 before the Cougars put the match away, taking advantage of consecutive Blue Devil hitting errors.

Copyright 2011 Taft Midway Driller. Some rights reserved

Taft College puts Focus on Breast Cancer Awareness Friday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 13, 2011

Taft, Calif. —
Volleyball fans attending Friday's Taft College-Merced match in the Cougar Sports Center had better be prepared to see a lot of pink.

The interior of the gym will be decked out in hundreds of pink ribbons as the Cougar team culminates its weeklong push to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.

Players will be wearing pink.

Admission for the 6 p.m. Central Valley Conference match will be a donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Raffles and door prizes also are on tap.

Coach Kanoe Bandy and her players annually sponsor a campus drive to create awareness and promote early detection.

They hand out educational materials every day on campus, urge students and staff to wear pink and end the week with Fight Like a Girl.

“It will be the culmination of the activities we’ve been doing all week,” Bandy said.  “We have a lot of prizes donated for the raffles.”

The Cougars are currently in third place in the conference with a 4-2 record – 8-7 overall – after sweeping College of the Sequoias Wednesday night in Visalia.  The teams entered that match tied for third behind undefeated Fresno and Porterville.

The scores were 27-25, 25-21 and 25-17.

All four of the Cougars’ CVC victories have been sweeps.

“We didn’t start out very well, but picked it up in the second game,” Bandy said.  “We played so well against Fresno (last Friday), and our goal was to have back-to-back solid games.  We didn’t do that, but did come alive in the second game.”
Freshman outside hitter Chanel Cantere again led the way with 13 kills to pace the offense and 16 digs on the defensive side.

Setter Kerstyn Randall, another freshman, contributed 13 digs and was credited with 19 assists.

Sophomore middle blocker Brittany Peterson had five stuff blocks to go with her nine kills.
Copyright 2011 Taft Midway Driller. Some rights reserved

Cougar Volleyball Splits Two Matches
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 19, 2011

Sacramento,Calif. —
Taft College split a pair of non-conference volleyball sweeps last week here against American River and Shasta colleges. The split leaves the Cougars with a 4-5 record heading into Central Valley Conference play tomorrow in Coalinga against West Hills College.

They will play in the San Diego City College tournament Saturday before hosting their first CVC match on Sept. 28 when Columbia College comes to town.

The Cougars ran into one of the best teams in northern California when the host American River Beavers swept TC 25-22, 25-11 and 25-18. “They are a very, very good team,” head coach Kanoe Bandy said of ARC.  “They played really well.  We played well, too, but they are a quality team.”

Chanel Canatere led the Cougars in attacks with 15 kills with Brittany Peterson scoring seven and Sina Mauga and Mele Yama two each.Mauga led the team in blocks with five, Madison Lawley had three and Peterson two.

On the defensive side, “Chanel played really well” as she led the team in digs with 10.  Jordyn Grissom had six, Yama five and Makaela Jones three.

Yama worked the entire match as setter and finished with 17 assists.

TC bounced back in its second match of the three-way by sweeping Shasta by scores of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-13.

Cantere again led the team in kills with 15 followed by Peterson with seven and Mauga and Onolina Taotofi with two each.

“We’re still looking for a consistent second hitter,” Bandy said.  “Whereas last year we had two solid hitters, we just don’t have that consistency on our hitting yet.”

Maugua had three blocks, Peterson two and Taotofi one.

Defensively, Cantere led the team with 13 digs, Grissom contributed 12 and Yama 10.Yama also put up 24 assists.

Since the team had the weekend off from competition, Bandy flew to Butte, Montana, to watch former Cougar Michelle Hardy play for Montana Tech University on Friday and Saturday. “She is setting for them,” Bandy said, “and did a really nice job.”

Hardy was an all-conference setter for the Cougars last year. “As a coach, you want to see your players not only move on, but also advance their level of play, and that is exactly what Michelle has done,” Bandy said.  “She has really stepped it up.” Montana Tech is an NAIA school.

Bandy said that Hardy, who is from Hawaii, “is learning what it’s like to be cold.”

TC Splits Four Matches in Volleyball Tournament
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 12, 2011

Stockton,Calif. —
Taft College split its four matches Friday and Saturday in the San Joaquin Delta volleyball tournament.

“We played pretty well against some tough teams,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy.  “We went 2-and-2 and had some bright spots.”

She singled out the work of sophomore setter Mele Yama, who worked all four matches.

Bandy has gone with a two-setter system, but the other stayed home because of a team rule infraction. “Mele did a great job for us both days,” she said.  “Although she is a sophomore, she really didn’t play last year.” Mele dished up 115 assists, getting more work as the tournament progressed.

TC opened against eventual tournament champion Cabrillo, which swept the Cougars.

Taft bounced back with wins over Butte and Solano before finishing with a five-set loss to Gavilan, a repeat of what happened when the teams opened the season at TC on Sept. 3.

“It wasn’t as tough to take this time because we definitely should have won when we played at home,” Bandy said.

Tournament recap:
Cabrillo 3, TC 0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-16)
Chanel Cantere led TC with 7 kills, Brittany Peterson had 6.  Sina Mauga had three blocks, Peterson two.

Taft 3, Butte 1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-16, 26-24)
Kills: Cantere 15, Peterson 15.  Blocks: Peterson 7, Mauga 4, Madison Lawley 3.  Digs: Jordyn Grissom 29, Cantaere 13.  Assists: Yama 23.

Taft 3, Solano 1 (25-20, 25-15, 23-25, 25-12)
Kills: Cantere 24, Peterson 11.  Blocks: Peterson 5, Mauga 2.  Digs: Cantere 18, Grissom 16.  Assists: Yama 34.

Gavilan 3, TC 2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-23, 16-25, 15-11)
Kills: Cantere 21, Peterson 11, Mauga 9.  Blocks: Peterson 3, Mauga 3.  Digs: Grissom 19, Cantere 14.  Assists: Yama 41.

TC Volleyball Player Earns Scholarship
by Dennis McCall
March 22, 2011

MichelleHardyFrom the surf of Hawaii to the desert of Taft, and now to the snow-covered peaks of Montana. That’s the journey Taft College standout Michelle Hardy has taken in her volleyball career. The 5-foot-4 setter for Moanalua High in Honolulu has signed a letter of intent to play for Montana Tech Orediggers, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Butte. “It will be a new experience for me,” she said. “Going from Hawaii to California was a big difference, Going from California to Montana is a big difference, but I’m ready for the challenge.” She turned down an offer form Chaminade University in her hometown because “you only live once.” Besides, she wants to become a pediatric nurse and Montana Tech, a branch of the University of Montana, has an excellent nursing program.  Tech also has made the Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report “best colleges” list. “That was a big plus, Hardy said.  “Nursing is one of their biggest programs.  They have a great job placement program.”

“I’m really happy for her,” said TC athletic director and head volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy. “She makes us all look good.” Bandy was worried that her decision to switch Hardy from defensive specialist to setter this year might hinder the sophomore’s opportunity to get scholarship offers. “I did not want it to have a negative affect,” she said.  “I’m very happy to know she got an opportunity and a good one at that.” Hardy was an all-conference libero her freshman season, but actually welcomed the move to setter. “I just wanted to play where she needed me,” she said.  “I didn’t care.  As a setter, you have to lead the team, and I think I do a good job of that.  I have good work ethic.” Coming to Taft was a good choice, she said. “It’s been great.  I’m very happy I came here.  Kanoe makes sure her girls are taken care of.  The athletes are all very close.” Before heading to Butte after earning her Associate in Science degree from TC in May, Hardy will spend the summer home in Honolulu-at the beach. “I’m always at the beach, but I never learned how to surf,” she said.  “This summer I’m going to learn how to surf.”

TC's Bandy to be Honored for her 422 Wins
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
December 17, 2010

Taft College volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy is in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to be honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for having 400+ victories in her career.
Bandy, who also serves as TC’s athletic director, actually reached the milestone the middle of last season, but was unable to attend the AVCA national convention.
“Since I couldn’t attend the convention last year they decided to present my award this year,” she said.
The coaches awards luncheon is part of the festivities at the NCAA Division I national championships that are being played at the Sprint Center.
“The neat thing is we get to see the final four,” Bandy said. Her husband, Don, a history and geography professor and former softball coach, is accompanying her.
Kanoe Bandy said the award she will receive at the awards luncheon is bittersweet.
“It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s really not so much about me as it is about the players that come to Taft College to play,” she said. “Without them, I’m nothing.”
Bandy has 422 victories in her 24 seasons at TC. She is seven-time Central Valley Conference coach of the year and three-time northern California coach of the year.
Tussling for this year’s NCAA championship are USC, Cal, Texas and defending national champion Penn State.

Taft College Netters Wait for Playoff Chance
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 18, 2010

Taft College will have to wait until Sunday to find out if the Cougars earned a spot in the state volleyball playoffs. The Cougars finished the regular season Friday with a 25-23, 25-17, 25-18 sweep of Columbia College to finish third in the Central Valley Conference with a 9-5 record (14-9 overall). “We are in third place by ourselves,” head coach Kanoe Bandy said. Going into the final regular season match, she thought her team was tied with Porterville, but the standings posted on the state website were wrong. Bandy will attend the playoff seeding meeting Sunday morning at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton to find out if the top three CVC teams (Fresno and Sequoias are 1-2) make it into the playoffs, and, if not, if the Cougars can get in as an at-large team.

In the sweep over Columbia, the bright spot for the Cougars was the work of freshman middle blocker Brittany Peterson.
“She was just awesome,” Bandy said. She had 13 kills and six blocks.” The 6-foot Peterson came to Taft College as a softball player but decided to go out for volleyball too since she played the sport in high school. Bandy’s glad she did. Tina Pulu was second in kills with 11 and had six defensive digs. The defense was led by Morgan Blair, who recorded 19 digs. “She played a great defensive game,” Bandy said. Jordyn Grissom had 13 digs, Michelle Hardy 10, Janine Orosco six, Kelcey Viliamu three and Nicole Gummersall two.
Viliamu had five kills, Blair and Orosco three each and Hardy two. Hardy had three blocks, Blair and Orsoco two apiece and Pulu one to give the Cougars 14 blocks over the three sets.

Student-Athlete Spotlight:

N_GummersallName: Nicole Gummersall
Sport: Volleyball
Class: Sophomore

Nicole has been selected for the Student-Athlete Spotlight because of her commitment to Taft College Volleyball. She has carried the weight of the team defensively and on serve receive with very little help or relief. It takes a very mentally strong athlete to carry such weight and pressure.

COS Defeats Cougars in Four Sets
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 11, 2010

J.Orosco_hitting_against_COSA four-set loss to College of the Sequoias Wednesday night in the Cougar Sports Center may have doomed Taft College’s hopes of making the state volleyball playoffs. Coupled with last Friday’s loss to Porterville, Cougar coach Kanoe Bandy said it’s doubtful her team will be seeded in the northern California playoffs. “We tied Porterville for third place,” she said.  “We beat them in four sets, but they swept us up there last Friday.  That means they will get the third seed out of our conference.  I don’t think our conference will get four teams in.” In the past, the Central Valley Conference was able to send four teams, but an eight-team conference (Big 8) was formed. “It’s getting tougher to get four of our teams in because of the Big 8,” Bandy said.  “I think we’ll get three in but not four.”

COS, which finished second in the conference with a 12-2 record, broke open a close match with a 25-16 win in set three and then closed it out with a 25-19 win. The Giants won the first set 26-24, but the Cougars clawed back to win the second 28-26. “We played well,” Bandy said.  “I thought they (COS) blocked very, very well, and that was the big difference.  We forced them to have to beat us.  We never quit.  In the end, they have more hitters than we do.” The Giants are a tall, sophomore-dominated team with only two freshmen on the 11-player roster. The first two sets were nail-biters. TC had to overcome a slow start.  COS jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the Cougars were able to get even at 10, 11 and 12.  The Giants maintained a slim lead until the Cougars caught them at 22, sparked by Nicole Gummersall’s pancake dig that fueled a kill by Brittany Peterson. It was knotted at 23 and 24 before the Giants put it away. Set two was the same, with COS clinging to a narrow lead until the Cougars caught them at 14.

Kelcey Viliamu’s ace gave TC a 17-15 lead, but the Giants reclaimed the lead.  It was tied at 23, 24, 25 and 26 before the Cougars were able to put it away.  Michelle Hardy’s ace finished it off. That hard-fought second set took a lot of energy out of the Cougars.  COS reclaimed momentum with a 12-2 run to open set three and never looked back. The Giants opened a five-point lead early in the fourth set, and the Cougars were never able to reel them in. Morgan Blair led the Cougars with 14 kills and 15 defensive digs. Tina Pulu also had 14 kills and contributed nine digs on defense.  Hardy had 15 digs and Jordyn Grissom 12. Peterson had four blocks. Viliamu led the Cougars at the service line, going 16-of-18 for 12 points and an ace.  Gummersall was 12-of-14 for seven points and two aces.


TC Volleyball Team Hosts Canned Food Drive
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 8, 2010

Taft College hosts College of the Sequoias Wednesday in a Central Valley Conference volleyball match that his playoff implications. But, the contest that starts at 6 p.m. on the court in the Cougar Sports Center also carries another important goal – to collect items for the team’s annual Thanksgiving basket food drive. “Admission will be canned food,” said head coach and athletic director Kanoe Bandy.  “This year there are more struggling families in our community that need our help. People can bring non-perishable food items or make donations.” The match-up with Sequoias will be the final regular season home match for the Cougars, who are in third place in the CVC just behind the Giants.  Sequoias beat Taft in Visalia in the first round of conference play. A win would pull the Cougars (9-3 CVC, 14-7 overall) into a second place tie with the Giants (10-2 CVC, 14-4 overall).  Both teams trail undefeated Fresno City College (12-0, 20-2)

The Cougars have several players ranked among state leaders in several categories. Sophomore outside hitter Tina Pulu ranks 12th in kills behind No. 11 Ebony Sanders of Sequoias.  The Giants’ Chanel Cleaves ranks 23rd. TC’s 6-foot freshman middle blocker Brittany Peterson is 11th in the state in blocks. Peterson was a surprise.  She was recruited to play softball at TC, but came out for volleyball since she played that sport in high school. Michelle Hardy, a sophomore who was the Cougars’ best defensive player last season but moved over to fill a void at setter, ranks 17th in assists.  Mary Maiocco, who is the daughter of Cougar baseball coach Vince Maiocco and plays at Bakersfield College, ranks ninth. Sequoias has one of the best defensive players in the state. Kailey Allen ranks third with 7.2 digs per game.

Taft College Volleyball Sweeps West Hills
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 2, 2010

T.PulU_hitting_against_West_HillsIt wasn’t pretty, but it nonetheless was a win. Taft College looked ragged Friday night in its 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 Central Valley Conference sweep of visiting West Hills College. “I don’t understand it,” said assistant coach Tim Maui.  “We had a great week of practice.” The win pushes TC’s conference record to 8-2 (13-5 overall) heading into tomorrow night’s crucial home match with CVC leader Fresno City College.  First serve is at 6 p.m.  Fresno hung a 3-1 loss on the Cougars in the first round of conference action. TC head coach Kanoe Bandy said she believes her team can knock off the Rams, who are ranked sixth in the state.

She hopes her team can shake off the poor performance against West Hills, a team that is still looking for its first conference victory. The first set was close from the start, but the Cougars managed to stay ahead.  The Falcons kept the Cougars in sight throughout, catching them three times at 6, 9 and 16 before TC edged ahead with a 4-0 run and stayed there. The early going of the second set saw four ties and three lead changes before the Cougars pulled ahead thanks to a series of kills from Morgan Blair, who has 11 on the night to go with 11 defensive digs. The Falcons kept it close, trailing 14-10 when the Cougars put it away with a 7-0 spurt. Set three was a carbon copy.

Taft led 14-10 and went on an eight-point run that was ignited by a West Hills service error. Freshman middle blocker Brittany Peterson had a stuff block midway through the rally and Tina Pulu finished it off with back-to-back kills. Peterson finished it with a match-point stuff – her fifth on the night. Pulu finished with 13 kills and 10 digs, Kelcey Viliamu had six kills, five digs and two blocks, and Janine Orosco four kills, five digs and two blocks. Jordyn Grissom had seven digs and Michelle Hardy nine to go along with 30 assists

Student-Athlete Spotlight:

M_BlairName: Morgan Blair
Sport: Volleyball
Class: Sophomore

Morgan has been selected for the Student-Athlete Spotlight because of her leadership and maturity as an athlete. It is often rare for a community college athlete to know exactly what it is that they want to do in life. Morgan has figured it out. She knows what she wants to do and it includes giving back to the community of Taft.

Pulu, Blair lead Cougars past Reedley
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 28, 2010

Sophomore outside hitters Tina Pulu and Morgan Blair paced Taft College to a three sets to one Central Valley Conference volleyball victory Monday over Reedley College. Cougar coach Kanoe Bandy said her team played its “best game of the season” against the Tigers to improve their record to 12-6 overall and 7-2 in the conference. “Our statistics were great, and both teams played their best games,” she said. TC jumped out to a 2-0 advantage with wins of 25-19 and 25-23 in the first two sets, but the Tigers scrapped back to turn the tables and earn a 25-23 decision in the third set. The Cougars regained the momentum for a 25-17 victory in the fourth game.

Pulu led the offense with 22 kills and had 15 digs and a block on defense while Blair had 14 kills, 20 digs and two blocks.
Both were perfect at the service line. Pulu was 16-of-16 for nine points and Blair 15-of-15 for seven. Nicole Gummersall led all servers with 16-of-17 for 11points and two aces. She also had 11 digs. Freshman libero Jordyn Grissom led the defense with 27 digs. Setter Michelle Hardy had 53 assists, 16 defensive digs and was 14-of-15 for seven points and an ace at the service line.
Kelcey Viliamu had 11 kills and two blocks and was 12-of-12 for five points and an ace while Brittany Peterson contributed eight kills and led the team with nine blocks. Janine Orosco had two blocks. The Cougars host West Hills College tonight at 6 in the Cougar Sports Center.

Student-Athlete Spotlight:

T_PuluName: Tina Pulu
Sport: Volleyball
Class: Sophomore

Tina Pulu has been selected for the Student-Athlete Spotlight because of her strong offensive force on our team. Tina is our leading hitter and one of our 3 passers in the 3 row serve-receive. Tina has been chosen as a co-captain and is expected to lead this team both on and off the court.

Cougars go to 2-0 in Conference Volleyball
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 30, 2010

Taft College overcame a disastrous second set to reclaim momentum and defeat Reedley College in a four-set Central Valley Conference volleyball match Wednesday night in the Cougar Sports Center. After winning the first set 25-22, the Cougars were unable to handle Reedley’s short set and blocking that led to a 25-8 Tiger victory and a huge momentum shift. TC overcame those shortcomings to win the third set 25-20 and snatch back the momentum. “I think they (Reedley) lost their confidence when we came back in game three,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy.

The Cougars used the momentum shift to close out the match with a 25-18 third set win and improve to 2-0 in the conference and 6-3 overall heading into this afternoon’s 3 o’clock home CVC skirmish with West Hills College. The difference in the third set, Bandy said, was a change in hitting strategy. “We couldn’t handle Reedley’s blocking in the second game, so I told our players to just hit into the block,” she said. “Once we started hitting into blocks the balls started to fall.” The Cougars also responded to the effectiveness of the Tigers’ short-sets.

Taft High product Morgan Blair again led the way with 13 kills and 16 defensive digs. “She really kept us moving along,” Bandy said. “She reads the hitters very well.” Tina Pulu contributed 12 kills, Brittany Peterson seven, Janine Orosco six, Kelcey Viliamu four and Michelle Hardy two.
Hardy and Nicole Gummersall were effective in the back as well with 15 and 14 digs respectively. Pulu had seven, Mele Yama four and Orosco three. Peterson and Orosco shared the team lead in blocks with four apiece while Hardy had two and Pulu and Viliamu one each. Bandy was a bit disappointed with her team at the serving line. “We served pretty well, but hardly had any aces,” she said. “That’s uncharacteristic for us.” Yama posted the best numbers with 11-for-12 for nine points and three aces, the only aces of the night. Hardy was 15-for-15 for eight points, Pulu 14-for-14 for seven, Blair 12-for-15 for seven, and Viliamu 8-for-9 for five points. After today’s West Hills match, the Cougars will head for Rocklin where they will play both Shasta and Sierra colleges on Saturday in a pair of non-conference matches.

TC Volleyball Team Opens Conference at Home
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 27, 2010

Kanoe Bandy hopes the friendly confines of the Cougar Sports Center will provide a spark for her Taft College volleyball team as the Cougars open Central Valley Conference action. The Cougars will host Reedley College Wednesday at 6 p.m. and West Hills College Friday at 3 p.m. The West Hills match is a schedule change. A gymnasium remodeling project at the Coalinga college is not finished yet, so the schools swapped sites for the conference home-and-home series. The Cougars are coming off what Bandy described as a “very poor” performance in last weekend’s San Diego City College tournament. “We just didn’t play very well at all,” she said. “I felt we could have beaten the teams we played and we didn’t.” The Cougars finished 1-4.

Their lone bright spot was a 25-13, 25-8 victory over Los Angeles Trade Tech in the second match of the tournament.
In the best two out of three tournament format, the Cougars lost to host San Diego City 28-26, 14-25, 11-25, to Chaffey 23-25, 21-25, to Phoenix, AZ 14-25, 17-25 and to Southwestern 24-26 in the single-elimination round. “We didn’t pass very well at all, and our middle was not as strong as it has been,” Bandy said. “We didn’t have the confidence for some reason. The girls seemed to get intimidated for some reason.”

Sophomore outside hitter Tina Pulu led the offense with 34 kills followed by Morgan Blair with 19, Kelcey Viliamu with 15, Janine Orosco with 14 and Brittany Peterson with 7. Michelle Hardy paced the defensive effort with 39 digs and got support from Nicole Gummersall with 38, Pulu with 30, and Blair with 28. Peterson had six blocks, Hardy three and Viliamu two. Blair had a good tournament from the service line, getting all 37 of her serves in for 20 points and three aces.
Viliamu was 32-of-35 for 22 points and five aces, Hardy was 28-of-32 for 13 points and three aces, Gummersall 31-for-32 for 12 points and three aces, Pulu 23-for26 for 10 points and a pair of aces.

Cougars Sweep Conference Volleyball Opener
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 23, 2010

Taft College made it two volleyball sweeps in a row, but the one the Cougars earned Wednesday night was the sweetest because it was the Central Valley Conference opener. The Cougars came away with 25-23, 27-25 and 25-18 wins to improve their overall record to 4-3. Head coach Kanoe Bandy said her team faced a strong defensive effort from Merced, but took advantage of hitting errors – many of them forced by the strong front row play from Brittany Peterson, Michelle Hardy, Janine Orosco, Tina Pulu and Kelcey Viliamu. “They took the lines away from Merced,” she said, “It took away what they wanted to hit. Our blocks took them out of their offense. I’m really proud of what they did.”

Peterson led the way with four blocks, Hardy had two and the others had one apiece. On the offensive side, Viliamu set the pace with nine kills, followed by Pulu with seven, Orosco with five and Morgan Blair with four. Blair led the Cougar defense with 16 digs, Nicole Gummersall had 15, Hardy 11, Orosco eight and Pulu six.
From her setter position, Hardy recorded 29 assists. “They (Merced) were a very strong defensive team,” Bandy said. “Offensively, they made a lot of hitting errors, though. It was quite an accomplishment beating them.” The Cougars are in San Diego today and tomorrow for a tournament, opening pool play against Southwestern College. Rio Hondo, Pima (AZ) and Reedley are the other pool play opponents. “I’m glad Reedley is in our pool,” Bandy said. “That will give us a good indication of what to expect next week.
The Cougars host Reedley in a conference match Wednesday at 6.

Taft College Volleyball Team Nets Win
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 16, 2010

Taft College swept DeAnza College of Cupertino Wednesday afternoon in a non-conference volleyball match played in the Cougar Sports Center. A sweep seems decisive, but this one was anything but. Each of the three games was a point-for-point struggle with neither team capturing much in the way of momentum.
“It really was a weird match,” said Cougar head coach Kanoe Bandy after watching her team score 25-23, 25-22 and 25-21 victories to run TC’s record to 4-3.

In each of the sets, the Cougars managed to ease ahead in the late going. In the deciding third set, neither team led by more than two points until freshman middle blocker Brittany Peterson stuffed an attack by the Dons that gave Taft a 21-18 lead. A DeAnza hitting error pushed the lead to four, a Tina Pulu service ace made it a five-point cushion, and the Cougars closed out the match. DeAnza opened up an 8-4 lead in the first set, but it tightened up quickly and stayed that way until the Cougars had a 24-20 edge on a dink by setter Michelle Hardy. However, the Dons scored the next three to draw within one before Morgan Blair finished it off with a cross-court slam.

TC’s 7-1 run to open the second set quickly evaporated, and the teams locked in another standoff until the fifth tie (19-all) was broken by a DeAnza service error. The Cougars maintained a 2-3 point lead until Blair again applied the finishing touches with a down-the-middle kill. She led the team with 10 kills and 16 defensive digs. “Overall, we did not play well,” Bandy said. “We certainly didn’t play like we did last Saturday in the (San Joaquin Delta) tournament. I don’t know whether we can do it back-to-back. I’m afraid that may be the story of our life.” Kelcey Viliamu finished just behind Blair in kills with nine, Tina Pulu and Janine Orosco each had seven and Peterson three. Hardy had 11 digs to go with her 31 assists, Orosco had nine and Pulu five. Peterson finished with four blocks. Hardy also paced TC at the service line with 17-of-17 for 11 points and a pair of aces. Pulu was 14-of-14 for eight points and an ace, and Blair 10-of-10 for three points. The Cougars will have a week to prepare for the Central Valley Conference opener next Wednesday at Merced College. The next home match will be a week later when Reedley comes to town.

Sizing Up TC Volleyball: Short but Quick
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
Posted August 30, 2010

Short. Quick.
That’s how Taft College volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy sizes up her prospects as she enters her 24th season Thursday with two matches at Gavilan College in Gilroy. The Cougars will play host Gavilan and Feather River, a team that was in the state’s elite eight last season. “They are both quality programs, so I should get a very good indication of where we are at this stage and how much work we need,” Bandy said. So far the biggest shortcoming is just that. “We are definitely vertically challenged,” she said.

Her tallest players are middle blockers Brittany Peterson (5-foot-11) and Kelcey Viliamu (5-10). Both are freshmen.
The Cougar outside hitters are 5-7 and 5-8. Quickness will help offset the lack of height, Bandy said. “We are a very quick team.” The other real plus at this time is work ethic. “Overall, this is one of the hardest working teams I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with, and I do mean pleasure,” she said. “They are very self-motivated.” Despite the lack of height, Bandy has confidence in sophomore outside hitters Morgan Blair and Tina Pulu – both at 5-7. “That’s going to be a strong mix for us.”

Janine Orosco and Kelsey McFarland (both 5-7) and Faia Asuega (5-8) will contend for playing time on the outside.
Asuega is the younger sister of former Cougar standout Tessa Asuega. Bandy will need a new setter with the departure of Kawehi Doo, who graduated. She’s decided to transform all-conference defensive specialist Michelle Hardy into the team’s setter. “You hate to pull an all-conference libero out of her position, but she has done a wonderful job,” Bandy said. “She’s very fit and strong. In our scrimmage last week she was digging balls that you wouldn’t think she could possibly reach.”Newcomer Mele Yama (5-4) will be Hardy’s backup.

Sophomore Nicole Gummersall, who saw a lot of playing time on defense as a freshman, will step in for Hardy as the starting libero. Her backup will be Taft High product Jordyn Grissom. “She does a nice job, but we need to get her physically stronger,” Bandy said. “She works so hard.” Despite their lack of experience, Bandy thinks Peterson and Viliamu will develop into solid middle blockers. Viliamu began the season last year, but suffered an early injury and took a medical redshirt. “She lacks sophomore experience, but she is going to be fine for us,” Bandy said. Peterson is the tallest player “and a tremendous athlete.” She also will play shortstop for the Cougar softball team in the spring. “She came in a little late and missed some practices,” Bandy said, “but she learned so much in such a short time.” The Cougars will play in the San Joaquin Delta tournament Sept. 10-11 before hosting DeAnza in the home opener Sept. 15.