Knights lose heart-breaker in first-ever playoff

Knight+outside+hitter+Chloe+Gruwell+spikes+the+ball+against+Cuyamaca%27s+defense+on+Oct.+7+at+West+Gymnasium.++Photo+credit%3A+Celia+Jimenez

Celia Jimenez

Knight outside hitter Chloe Gruwell spikes the ball against Cuyamaca's defense on Oct. 7 at West Gymnasium. Photo credit: Celia Jimenez

Gabe Rivera

It was a tough night of highs and lows for the Knights women’s volleyball team as they fell to the Riverside City College Tigers in their first ever playoff match 3-2 on Saturday Nov. 19 at Harry West Gymnasium.

The Knights chant of “family” before the game was clearly evident in their play as they worked extremely hard to not let any balls hit the floor but it proved to not be enough on this night.

City won the first set 25-22 and set a frantic pace from the start as both teams were fighting for their playoff lives. The Tigers took the momentum back by winning the next two sets.

Despite a strong performance from sophomore middle blocker, Kali Weires, who did 17 kills, 4 blocks and 21 total points, the Knights dropped the next two sets in a row due to a few costly errors.

Sophomore outside hitter, Chloe Gruwell, turned in another typical performance, leading the team in kills and points but her kill percentage was uncharacteristically low, at only .139 percent.

The Knights rebounded in the fourth set behind the inspired play of sophomore setter, Megan Kronschnabel, who led the Knights in assists once again with 28. Kronschnabel did not start and one had to wonder why the teams leading passer didn’t get more playing time in this pivotal game in Knights history.

Kronschnabel clearly had the best repertoire with her hitters, as she lead the team for the season with 6.34 assists per game.

City Times attempted to get a quote from Knight’s Head Coach Dede Bodnar, but Bodnar refused to comment.

The Knights played valiantly in the final set but the Tigers trio of sophomore outside hitter Marissa Vlalpando (17 points), sophomore outside hitter Lauren Wells (18 points), and freshman outside hitter Kellsey Russell (21.5 points), were too much to handle for San Diego and they dropped the fifth set 15-12.

Despite the not-so-happy ending, City College (16-10) finished the season with their best record ever recorded. The Knights season is over but the game doesn’t stop. They will be playing in a beach volleyball setting during the 2017 spring semester. Contact coach Dede Bodnar for details.