Taft College Cougars Women's Volleyball

About TC Volleyball   

The volleyball team, has posted an overall record of 270 wins and 122 losses in 3 of 5 game matches at Taft College since 1996.  During this period of time, the volleyball team has won 5 conference championships and in 2004, the team finished 4th in the State of California. Another of the volleyball team’s accomplishments was being awarded the 2001 Scholar Team Award by the Commission on Athletics while also winning the Central Valley Conference Championship.  The 2001 team boasts the highest team grade point average of all California community college volleyball teams in that year.

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Making Adjustments in a New Environment
Kelley, Vaimoui went from California to Maine to Play Volleyball
Matt Henry
Taft Midway Driller
October 30, 2015

Sometimes the journey to play a sport will take an athlete to another part of the world or across the country. The latter happened to Taft volleyball players Tara Kelley and Sweet Vaimoui this past fall after they started playing for the University of Maine Fort Kent volleyball team.

“The experience has been really different at first from California,” said Vaimoui. “It’s been really good.”

“I am still adjusting but it’s a good adjustment,” said Kelley.

“They’ve been a great addition” said the Lady Bengals volleyball coach Tom Bird. “Their attitudes have always been great. “They’ve been a great part of our success.”

Bird found out about the two players last winter when he sent e-mails to junior college coaches including one to Taft College volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy. Bandy sent Bird the names of Kelley and Vaimoui.

In May Bird paid a visit at which time Bandy introduced the two players to the coach before Kelley and Vaimoui informed him that they would go play for him.

Kelley likes the fact that she gets to play with Vaimoui at the University of Maine Fort Kent after the two of them competed with each other for two years at Taft College.

“If Sweet hadn’t come to Maine with her, I don’t think I would have been able to make it here and continue to play volleyball,” said Kelley. “I am glad I made a long last friendship with Sweet. We still help each other out, tell what each other did wrong.”

So far this season, Kelley and Vaimoui are playing for a team that is 21-7 overall and are ranked fifth.

“It’s been good knowing how far we have come,” said Vaimoui.

Individually, Kelley has two kills, 32 digs and 26 aces so far for the Lady Bengals according to uscaa.com while Vaimoui is fourth on the team in kills with 100 along with two aces, 51 digs and 32 blocks.

Despite playing clear across the country, the two players have a bit of familiarity around them.
The entire Lady Bengals team is made up of players from California in cities from Merced, Fairfield, Grand Terrace Chico and Orosi.

“For our success it’s imperative,” Bird said of having the entire team from California. “Having players from California obviously has been a major help.”

Kelley and Vaimoui also like it as well.

“I think its pretty cool because we challenged them at junior college” said Vaimoui.

Cougars Volleyball drops five-set heartbreaker to COS
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 12, 2015

Taft College wrapped up the regular volleyball season at home last Thursday with a heartbreaking five-set loss to College of the Sequoias in a battle for second place in the Central Valley Conference.

The loss puts the Cougars on the bubble when playoff seeding is determined on Friday.

“At least we played better as a team than we’ve played in a while,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “Now we’ll have to wait and see.”

Taft and Sequoias entered the match tied for second place with Reedley. By winning, COS finishes alone in second place and the Cougars and Reedley tied for third. That’s because Reedley lost a five-set match at Merced.

The Cougars got off to a good start against COS by winning the first set 25-18 with a 7-0 run to finish it after it was tied at 18. Bailey Jensen’s kill put the finishing touches on a rally that had the big crowd in the Cougar Sports Center on their feet.

But the Giants rebounded to take the next two sets and put the Cougars on their heels.
COS never trailed after breaking a 10-all tie and led by as many as six points before 5-10 sophomore setter/outside hitter Reina Sykes slammed an overpass.

Set 3 was nip and tuck until COS broke a 13-all tie, edged ahead by three before the Cougars pulled even at 22 only to watch the visitors score the final three points.

Set 4 was even closer.

It was tied 13 times – the last one at 23 before the Cougars forced a tie-breaker on an ace from Payton Spragling and a kill from Skye Parker.

The Cougars took the early lead in the fifth set before a service error allowed the Giants to tie it at 5. After it was knotted t 8 COS reeled off four unanswered points but the Cougars pulled even at 13.

It was tied at 14 and 15 before the Giants edged ahead on a hitting error and then put the match away when Cougar freshman Virginia Salanoa-Sagapolu’s kill attempt hit the top of the net.
Sagapolu led the Cougars in attacks with 22 kills followed by Skyler Taumua with 11, Jensen and Courtnie Perry 5 apiece, Parker 4 and Madeline Griffith 3.

Sohomore libero Halle Neher was busy in the backcourt with 31 digs to lead all players. Bailey San Augustin/Nordmeier had 12, Griffith 11 and Janell Molina and Parker 10 apiece.

Parker had 8 blocks, Taumua 3 and Perry 3.

Setter Griffith had 37 assists.

Cougars Sports Teams Aim for Playoffs
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 9, 2015

All three of Taft College’s fall sports teams are gearing up for a run to the playoffs, but all three also face tough regular season wrap-ups.

The Cougars were pushed to five sets last Friday but managed to get past a stubborn Merced team to solidify their hold on second place in the Central Valley Conference.

Taft improved to 9-3 in the conference and 15-11 overall heading into the final two matches of the regular season. Both are at home: tonight against undefeated eight-time conference champs Fresno City College, and Thursday when College of the Sequoias comes to town. Both swept the Cougars in the first round of conference play.

First serve for both matches in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center is at 6 p.m.

At Merced Friday the TC had to fight back after Merced won the opening set 25-21 with the Cougars grabbing the second 25-13 and looking like they might run away with the match.

However, the Blue Devils scrapped back to win a hard-fought third set 25-23 to take command again.
With their backs to the wall the Cougars cruised to a 25-14 win in the fourth set to force a tie-breaker they won 15-9.

Statistics were unavailable.

Reedley did the Cougars a favor by knocking Sequoias out of a second place tie with the Cougars.

As the conference heads into its final week the standings look like this:
Fresno 12-0 (18-4)
Taft 9-3 (15-11)
Sequoias 8-4 (10-6)
Reedley 8-4 (12-12)
Merced 6-6 (9-10)
Porterville 3-8 (3-12)
West Hills-Coalinga 1-11 (1-13)
Columbia 0-11 (2-21).

Both Cougar soccer teams have tough assignments in the final week of conference play.

The men made things more difficult for themselves Friday by losing a 2-1 heartbreaker at Fresno City College that snarled the CVC leadership. Taft, Fresno and West Hills-Lemoore are all 3-2 in the conference. The Cougars (3-2, 12-5-2 overall) are at Lemoore (3-2, 12-7-0) Friday, a team they beat at home in the first round, while Fresno is at hapless Sequoias (1-4, 3-13-2).

If the Cougars beat Lemoore and Fresno beats Sequoias, Fresno will claim the conference title by virtue of its two wins over Taft – 1-0 in Taft and 2-1 in Fresno.

But all three should make the playoffs. The loss to Fresno means the Cougars will have a lower seed and a tougher assignment in the first round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Cougar women (4-0 CVC, 11-5-1 overall) will wrap up the regular season with two conference matches this week – at winless West Hills (0-4, 0-12) this afternoon and at home Friday against Fresno City College (3-1, 15-1-3).

Cougars Alone in 2nd after Sweep of West Hills
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
November 2, 2015

COALINGA – Taft College moved into sole possession of second place in the Central Valley Conference volleyball race here Friday by sweeping the West Hills Falcons.

By winning 25-10, 25-9, 25-11 the Cougars improved their conference record to 8-2 and overall mark to 14-10.

TC now heads into the final stretch of the conference chase and hopes to hang around the No. 2 spot because it’s unlikely anyone will get in the way of Fresno City College’s quest for a ninth
consecutive championship.

Fresno, ranked No. 3 in northern California and No. 8 in the state, is 10-0 in the conference – all of them sweeps.

The Cougars are on the road this week at Reedley (7-3 CVC, 11-11 overall) and Merced (5-5, 8-9). Taft beat Reedley 3-1 and swept Merced when the teams met in the first round of conference play.

Head coach Kanoe Bandy, after beating Reedley win, said her team played exceptionally well against “a very good team,” and knows the Tigers will be pointing for revenge this time.

The regular season comes to an end next week with the Cougars hosting Fresno and Sequoias – teams that swept them in the first round.

In the win over West Hills, the Cougars pressed 11 players into action with Skyler Taumua pacing the attack with 8 kills followed by Baillie Jensen with 7.

Virginia Salanoa-Sagapolu had 4 kills and Madeline Griffith, Payton Spragling and Courtnie Perry 3 each.

Setter Griffith contributed 25 sets and 9 digs.

Defensively, Janell Molina and Bailey San Augistin-Nordmeier had 10 digs apiece, Spragling 8, Halle

Neher and Skye Parker 4 each, Taumua 3, Kamalani Kahele 2 and Sagapolu 1.

Cougars Sweep Porterville in CVC Volleyball
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 29, 2015

Taft College kept a share of second place in the Central Valley Conference volleyball chase Wednesday night with a sweep of visiting Porterville College.

By winning 25-12, 25-16, 25-16 the Cougars stayed in second place tied with Reedley at 7-2. Defending eight-time champion Fresno kept its perfect conference record in tact by sweeping College of the Sequoias.

TC is in Coalinga tonight to play West Hills College (1-8 CVC, 1-10 overall) and Monday travels to Reedley for another pivotal conference match.

Against Porterville the Cougars’ level of play was spotty but enough to overpower the mistake-prone Pirates.

“We still haven’t recovered from that horrible match at Sequoias,” head coach Kanoe Bandy said. “It’s frustrating. We play so well in practice but we’re just not transferring that to games.”

She was referring to being swept by Sequoias in Visalia last Friday.

“That was one of the ugliest performances I’ve ever seen. If we just play how we practice we’ll be fine. Right now we’re just not doing that.”

The team also is adjusting to life without sophomore captain and outside hitter Nalani Kekuawela, who has been sidelined with Valley Fever.

Again, the Cougars spread the wealth around on offense.

Bailey Jensen led the attacks with 9 kills followed by Skye Parker with 7, Payton Spragling and Skyler Taumua 5 each, Madison Griffith 4 and Courtnie Perry and Virgie Salanoa-Sagapolu 1 apiece.

Spragling sparked the defensive effort with 16 digs followed by libero Halle Neher with 14. Griffith had 8, Janell Molina 7, Bailey San Augustin-Nordmeier and Kamalani Kahele 6 each, Taumua 4, Parker 3 and Jensen 2.

Setter Griffith tossed up 25 assists.

Parker blocked 6 shots, Griffith 2 and Jensen, Sagapolu and Parker 1 each.

Taft College were Swept by College of the Sequoias
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 26, 2015

Coming off a loss at Sequoias last Friday the Taft College volleyball team hopes to get back on track Wednesday when the Cougars host Porterville College at 6 p.m. in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

The Cougars knew they would have rough sledding against Sequoias on the Giants home court but didn’t expect to get swept.

The scores were 18-25, 22-25, 15-25.

The loss snarled the No. 2 spot in the Central Valley Conference with Taft, Sequoias and Reedley all ending the week with 6-2 conference marks. Fresno leads the pack at 8-0.
The conference season is winding down.

After tonight TC hits the road for two matches – at West Hills on Friday and Reedley next week.

Then it’s a Nov. 10 home date with Fresno and a regular season ending match when Sequoias comes to town Nov. 12.

Cougars Sweep Away Columbia, Eye on COS
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 22, 2015

After an easy sweep of last-place Columbia College Wednesday, the Taft College volleyball team will take aim at College of the Sequoias tonight in Visalia.

The Cougars enter a crucial stage of its Central Valley Conference schedule.

“This will be tough for us,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “COS is a tough team, especially playing on their home floor.”

And, she may be without the services of sophomore outside hitter Nalani Kekuuwela, who has been diagnosed with Valley Fever but was well enough to play last night.

“She’s a starter on the outside and a team leader, so we will miss that.”

Kekuawela is day-to-day.

The Giants (5-2 CVC, 7-4 overall) tail the Cougars in the conference standings and a win would tie them with Taft. The Cougars are in second place behind eight-time champion Fresno, a team

TC lost to last week three sets to one.

“We lost because of our own errors,” Bandy said. “They didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves.”
Fresno was up 2-1 and beat the Cougars 25-20 in the fourth set.

“We lost by five points but we had 15 errors that gave them 15 points,” Bandy said. “That’s the kind of night it was for us. We just made too many mistakes, and that was frustrating.”

Kekuawela missed that match and is questionable for COS.

In sweeping visiting Columbia College 25-3, 25-13, 25-8 Bandy was able to get more of her 15-player roster into the action, but it wasn’t easy.

“We were running out of rotations. At times there was some confusion but that’s to be expected.”
Bailey Jensen, who usually comes off the bench, got a start at right side hitter and made it count by leading the Cougars with 10 kills.

“She did a very good job,” Bandy said. “She has worked on her confidence and it has paid off.”
Ten players had kills. Freshman Skyler Taumua followed Jensen with 6 kills and Virginia Salanoa-Sagapolu had 5.

Setter Madeline Griffith had 29 assists, 3 kills, 8 digs and 3 serving aces.

Payton Spragling, a freshman outside hitter, led the Cougar defense with 16 digs, Halle Neher had 8, Bailey San Augustin-Nordmeier 6.

Spragling also added 2 kills and 5 serving aces.

Fresno 8-0 (14-4)
Taft 6-1 (12-9)
Reedley 6-12 (10-10)
Sequoias 5-2 (7-4)
Merced 2-5 (5-9)
Porterville 2-5 (2-9)
West Hills 1-7 (1-9)
Columbia 0-8 (2-18)

It's Think Pink for Taft College Volleyball
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 19, 2015

It is the team’s annual breast cancer awareness push with activities on campus and a volleyball match Wednesday night where the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center will be decked out with pink ribbons and other decorations.

There will be drawings for door prizes between sets of the Cougars’ match against visiting Columbia College Claim Jumpers from Sonora.

The match begins at 5 p.m., an hour ahead of normal, because of the travel distance for the Claim Jumpers.

“We’ll have the gym decked out in pink,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “All of the proceeds from the door prize drawings will go toward raising awareness about the seriousness of breast cancer.

Admission, naturally, is a donation to help the cause, she said.

“We do this every year. Our girls really get into it. They love decorating the gym. They also staff information booths on campus and take donations. It’s definitely our favorite week of the season.”

The Claim Jumpers will be hungry. They haven’t won a Central Valley Conference match so far (0-7) and are 2-17 overall. Columbia was in town in the pre-season for a round robin tournament and was swept by the Cougars when the teams played in Sonora in the first round of CVC action.

Fresno City College, which has won the last eight conference titles, is the heavy favorite to make it nine. The Rams, ranked second in northern California, are 7-0 and 13-4 overall.

On Friday the Cougars will travel to Visalia to take on College of the Sequoias.

Conference standings:
Fresno 7-0 (13-4)
Taft 5-1 (11-9)
Reedley 5-2 (9-10
Sequoias 4-2) 6-4)
Merced 3-4 (6-8)
Porterville 2-5 (2-9)
West Hills 1-6 (1-8)
Columbia 0-7 (2-17)

Cougar Volleyball Team Faces Powerhouse Fresno After Win
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 12, 2015

Taft College will take its unbeaten Central Valley Conference volleyball record into Fresno tomorrow night to face the league’s other unbeaten team, and the Cougars will be solid underdogs.

That’s because Fresno owns the conference. The Rams have won the last eight titles with five All-Americans, seven All-Stater’s and seven conference MVPs.

Both teams are 5-0 in the conference and both have won 11 overall, but Fresno has just four losses and Taft eight.

Taft tuned up for Fresno with a home sweep over Merced College last Friday night in a match that was closer than it looked.

“That was fun to watch and fun to coach,” said Cougar volleyball boss Kanoe Bandy. “That (Merced) was a good team we played tonight. We didn’t anticipate that being an easy match. They were a real challenge.”

The Cougars never trailed in the first set, which was close throughout before finishing it off 27-25. Merced tied the set four times and although they stayed close the Blue Devils were unable to catch the Cougars.

That tone remained through much of the second game before the Cougars pulled away with an overwhelming finish.

It was 13-11 when TC went on a 3-0 run, gave up a point to make it 16-12, then left Merced in the dust of a 9-0 finishing run to make the final score 25-12.

The Cougars never trailed in the third set although the Blue Devils stayed close before another late surge finished it off at 25-17.

TC spread the wealth around on offense with Nalani Kekuawela leading the way with 11 kills followed by Skye Parker with 6, Skyler Taumua 5, Payton Spragling and Madeline Griffith 4 apiece, Jasmina Clayton 2 and Courtnie Perry 1.

Griffith turned in a solid overall performance by adding 22 assists, 13 digs and a blocked shot.

Halle Neher had 10 assists, Spragling 9, Taumua 7, Kekuawela 6, and Parker 5.

Parker had 3 blocks and Perry and Kekuawela 2 each.

Unbeaten Cougar Volleyball Hosts Merced Friday, Defeated Reedley on Wednesday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 8, 2015

Taft College’s volleyball team puts its 4-0 Central Valley Conference record on the line tonight in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center when Merced College comes to town for a 6 p.m. match.

The Cougars won their fourth straight CVC match Wednesday with a hard-fought 3-1 decision over visiting Reedley that kept TC at the top of the heap with Fresno, also 4-0.

If TC gets by Merced tonight the Cougars will travel to Fresno next Wednesday for a shot at the eight-time conference kingpins.

The scores against Reedley were 20-25, 25-23, 25-19 and 25-22. Each set was close.

“It was a fun game to watch,” said head coach Kanoe Bandy. “Reedley has a damn good defense.

They never quit, and that was challenging for us.”

The Cougars didn’t quit either, although there were more lapses than the coach wanted to see.

“We had a string of errors, it seems, in every game,” Bandy said, “especially in game 4. That is frustrating. We get out of position and start running into each other. We need to stop making mental mistakes.”

Reedley coach Shannon Jeffries exploited TC’s weakness, Bandy said.

“Reedley did a lot of short stuff on the right side. That’s our weakness. It’s definitely not one of our strengths. I thought Janell (Molina) stepped in and did a good job.”

Bandy also singled out the work of her defensive floor leader Halle Neher.

“Halle started slow but got stronger,” she said. That brought some needed stability to the defensive game, which was ragged early on.

Reedley never trailed in the first set. The Cougars caught up only three times.

Set 2 was a thriller. The score was tied nine times before TC edged ahead for good with a four-point run after it was knotted at 14. TC maintained a 3-4 point lead before the Tigers got within one (24-23) when Payton Spragling, who led the offense with 14 kills, drove a shot through a double block to even the match.

The Cougars never trailed in the third set although the Tigers caught up three times. A 5-2 run after the last tie (14-all) gave the Cougars some breathing room en route to a 6-point win.

Sweep Keeps Cougar Volleyball Tied at Top
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 5, 2015

It took Taft College just one hour Friday night to sweep past visiting West Hills College, a victory that kept the Cougars tied for first place in the Central Valley Conference volleyball race.

The Cougars easily dispatched the winless Falcons by scores of 25-11, 25-7, 25-14.

TC (3-0 CVC, 9-8 overall) remained tied with Fresno at the top of the conference heap heading into Wednesday’s home match with Reedley (2-1, 6-9).

Head coach Kanoe Bandy likes where her team is but knows the conference campaign is early and everyone will be chasing eight-time CVC champion Fresno (3-0, 9-4).

“I don’t really know what to expect,” she said sizing up the league. “I really don’t have a good feel for it. It’s early yet.”

The Cougars have a non-conference win over Reedley, but Bandy expects the Tigers to put up a better fight this time.

“Reedley is better than what they showed against us in a tournament,” she said.

In the win over West Hills the Cougars spread the work around.

Skye Parker set the pace on offense with 8 kills, followed by Skyler Taumua with 6, Payton Spragling 5, Baillie Jensen 4, and Bailey San Augustin-Nordmeier and Nalani Kekuawela 2 apiece.

Madeline Griffith led the servers with 17-of-17 for 12 points and 4 aces. Janell Molina was sharp, too, with all 10 of her serves getting in for 8 points.

Spragling, “who is our most consistent player,” according to Bandy, was 12-of-13 for 8 points and 2 aces.

Spragling, a 5-7 freshman outside hitter from Kamehamaha High in Hawaii, was the busiest defender with 16 digs. Taumua had 8 and Halle Neher 6.

Setter Griffith tossed up 23 assists and had one of TC’s two blocks. Parker had the other.

CVC Standings:
Fresno 3-0 (9-4)
Taft 3-0 (9-8)
Sequoias 2-1 (4-3)
Merced 2-1 (5-5)
Reedley 2-1 (6-9)
Columbia 0-3 (2-13)
W. Hills 0-3 (0-5)
Porterville 0-3 (0-7)

Former Cougar, Tiffany Mapusaga Named GNAC Player of the Week
From St. Joseph University, Connecticut
September 21, 2015

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – University of Saint Joseph senior Tiffany Mapusaga (Waianae, Haw.) was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the period ending Sept. 20, it was announced Monday.

Mapusaga, the 2014 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year, claimed her first weekly honor of the season. She had 37 kills in 11 sets over three matches against only seven hitting errors on 91 attacks for a .330 hitting percentage. She also had 31 digs and served five aces to lead USJ to a 3-0 week.

Mapusaga had 15 kills and 14 digs in a four-set win over Mitchell and 15 kills (on only 30 swings) and 11 digs in a big GNAC win over Suffolk Saturday. She is presently fifth in the GNAC at 2.81 kills per set.

USJ (5-3 overall, 1-1 GNAC) next plays Thur. Sept. 24 when it hosts Daniel Webster at the O’Connell Center in a non-conference match at 7 p.m.

Tiffany Tiffany

Nor Cal Powerhouses Sweep Cougars in Volleyball
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 16, 2015

Taft College’s volleyball team ventured north Wednesday where they ran into a couple of buzzsaws.

The Cougars were swept by Shasta (9-3) and Santa Rosa (9-2) and saw their non-conference record dip below .500 at 5-7.

TC will get a week off from competition but will hit the practice court to prepare for the Central Valley Conference opener next Wednesday at Columbia College (4-4) in Sonora.

Against Shasta and Santa Rosa – matches played at West Valley College in Saratoga – the Cougars lost 18-25, 24-26, 19-25 and 15-25, 15-25, 18-25.

Individual statistics were unavailable at press time.

Sophomore defensive specialist Halle Neher missed the action while recovering from a concussion.

The CVC looks like this so far in non-conference action: Fresno 4-2, Columbia and Reedley both 4-4, Merced 2-2, Taft 5-7 and Porterville 0-2. West Hills-Coalinga did not schedule any non-conference matches, choosing instead to focus on the practice court to get ready for CVC wars.

After the long trip to Sonora the Cougars will dip back into non-conference action at the San Diego City College tournament on Sept. 26.

Then it’s a trip to Porterville before culminating a month on the road when the Cougars entertain West Hills on Oct. 2.

Taft College Sports Roundup-Volleyball and 2 Soccer Teams Lose
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
September 3, 2015

It’s been a rough week for Taft College’s fall sports teams.

The volleyball team and both soccer teams lost home matches early in the week.

The Cougar volleyball team lost twice in a round robin TC hosted with northern California powerhouses Sacramento City and Foothill.

The soccer teams both lost non-conference matches to visiting Santa Barbara City College by identical 1-0 scores.

In the opening match of the round robin, the Cougars lost 3-1 to Sac City.

The visitors won the first two sets 25-17 and 25-15 before the Cougars surged back to capture the third set 25-19. The Panthers polished things off by winning the fourth set 25-19

The Cougars were on the defensive throughout against the much taller Panthers. Janell Molina led the effort with 12 digs followed by Halle Neher with 7, Madeline Griffith with 6, Kamalani Kahele 4, Nalani Kekuawela and Virgie Salanoa-Sagapolu 3.

In attacks the Cougars managed just 30 kills with Kekuawela leading the way with 12. Salanoa-Sagapolu had 7 and Sky Parker 5.

Setter Griffith tossed up 29 assists.

TC managed just three blocks against Sac City’s tall front line.

In the day’s final match Foothill swept the Cougars 25-20, 25-16 and 25-14.

Neher led the defense with 12 digs followed by Skyler Taumua with 10 and Griffith with 9.

Kekuawela had 15 kills to lead the offense and Griffith had 23 assists.

The twin loss evened TC’s record to 2-2 heading into a long road trip the rest of the month.

Both Taft College soccer teams lost 1-0 matches here Tuesday to visiting Santa Barbara City College.

Although both Vaquero teams were more physical and that proved to be the difference, the Cougars were able to keep the matches close.

The Cougar women, who opened the season last Saturday with a 2-1 win over San Diego City College, this time out were unable to seriously threaten the SBCC goal.

The Vaqueros, meanwhile, recorded their third consecutive shutout of the young season.

The only goal came in the 36th minute when freshman defender Baylee Vincent shook loose on the left side and fired a clearing shot from a Cougar defender into the left side of the net from about 30 yards out. The winning goal came moments after an SBCC throw-in.

SBCC coach John Sisterson, in a quote posted on the school’s sports website, said Vincent’s game-winner “was like a missile. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen her kick it with her right foot.”

Vaquero goalie Alex Camarillo and her defenders denied the Cougars.

The Cougar men lost a heartbreaker on a penalty kick in the 75th minute.

Taft College Goes 2-0 to Open Volleyball Season
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 31, 2015

Taft College won both of its matches Saturday in a season-opening volleyball round robin held on the Cougar court.

But after the Cougars defeated Allan Hancock of Santa Maria and Cerro Coso of Ridgecrest, both by scores of 3-1, head coach Kanoe Bandy was not smiling.

“We didn’t play as well as a team as we should have,” she said. “We sure have a lot of work to do on that.”

First, it was the season opener and she has a young team that’s larger than she’s accustomed to – 14 players. That doesn’t count the three players who are red-shirting this season.

“I don’t think we ever got over the jitters,” Bandy said. “We have some excellent, talented players, but they’ve got to figure out how to play together. It was hard to watch, so we’ve got some kinks to work out.”

Second, everyone was trying hard – maybe too hard.

“They seemed so afraid to make a mistake,” she said. “At this point everyone is battling for a position. I wanted to see how they manage their way out of it. They need to figure out how to get out of it.”

They’ll have a harder time, for sure, when they host another round robin Wednesday – also in the Cougar Sports Center – where the opposition figures to be considerably stronger.

This time northern California powerhouses Sacramento City and Foothill come to town. TC will play Sac City at 2 p.m. to kick things off. After Sacramento and Foothill play at 4 the Cougars will return to the court to finish things off against Foothill.

It will be the season opener for both Sac City and Foothill.

“We know they will be very tough,” Bandy said. “Both have been playing together all summer.”

Both have huge enrollments and draw plenty of talent from their districts. Taft, on the other hand, is small and rural and must rely on out-of-district athletes to field a team and, therefore, unable to hold a summer sports class like their opponents.

On Saturday TC defeated Hancock 25-13, 25-14, 21-25 and 25-19, then finished the day buy beating Cerro Coso 25-21, 19-25, 25-22 and 25-17.

Sophomore libero Halle Neher, a Taft High product, paced the defense, which kept TC in position to score points. She finished with 27 defensive digs.

Skyler Taumua delivered 18 digs, Madeline Griffith 16, Virgie Salanoa-Sagapolu 15, Nalani Kekuawela 9, Kamalani Kahele and Janell Molina 5 each, Courtnie Perry and Skye Parker 3 apiece and Baillie Jensen 2.

Cougar setter Griffith tossed up 73 assists on the day.

TC Volleyball Hosting Mini Tournament This Saturday
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller
October 27, 2015

Veteran Taft College volleyball boss Kanoe Bandy will lead her team into Saturday’s three-team season opener without the benefit of a pre-season scrimmage.

She likes the idea of scrimmages so she can give all her players an early test, and that used to happen with a day of scrums against several colleges at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster.

“We usually have a scrimmage, but Antelope Valley isn’t doing that this year,” she said.

Instead the Cougars will host Allan Hancock of Santa Maria and Cerro Coso of Ridgecrest in a three-way mini-tournament in the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

Bandy’s Cougars and Hancock’s Bulldogs will christen things at 11 a.m., Cerro Coso steps in to take on Hancock at 1 with Taft and Cerro Coso finishing it off at 3.

One of her biggest challenges will be getting her 17 players the amount of playing time she would like.

“With those numbers the real challenge will be rotating everyone in,” Bandy said, but she likes having that kind of depth.

“I think we will be more competitive than we were last year (when the Cougars were 11-16 overall, 7-7 Central Valley Conference),” Bandy said.  “We don’t have much height but we will be a very aggressive team.  This team has good basic skills and will keep the ball in play.”

However, she has some reservations about Saturday.

“I’m not sure we will be ready for Saturday with the numbers we have.”
Bandy likes her team’s work ethic.

“This is a really good group to work with,” she said.  “They are very hard working.”

The player who has set the tone is sophomore defensive specialist Halle Neher (Taft High).

“She has just done an awesome job,” Bandy said.  “She is so solid in the back row.  Last year she kept us in games, and she came back ready to go.”

Both matches Saturday will be non-conference but next fall Cerro Coso will join the Central Valley Conference, Bandy said.

Aug. 29 vs. Hancock and Cerro Coso; Sept. 2 vs. Sacramento City and Foothill; Sept. 4 vs. Delta and DeAnza in Stockton Sept. 11-12 at Delta Tournament; Sept. 16 vs. Shasta, Santa Rosa and West Valley at Saratoga; Sept. 26 at San Diego City College Tournament.

Sept. 23 at Columbia, Sept. 30 at Porterville, Oct. 2 vs. West Hills, Oct. 7 vs. Reedley, Oct. 9 vs. Merced, Oct. 14 at Fresno, Oct. 21 vs. Columbia, Oct. 23 at Sequoias, Oct. 28 vs. Porterville, Oct. 30 at West Hills, Nov. 2 at Reedley, Nov. 6 at Merced, Nov. 10 vs. Fresno, Nov. 12 vs. Sequoias