Tigers Squander Early Match Lead, Fall to Chaffey in Four

Photo by Cassandra Serrano
Photo by Cassandra Serrano

The Tigers traveled down a familiar road on Wednesday night in their home opener against the Chaffey College Panthers. The road was foggy with late-match woes despite a strong start to the this year's campaign.

Riverside's dominant start resulted in a commanding first set victory. However, in the second set, they allowed an early 10-point advantage to slip through their fingers ultimately leading to a 3-1 loss.

In the first set, the Tigers busted out of the gates with max effort by quickly commandeering a 10-3 lead forcing a Chaffey timeout. Riverside earned their first point in that stretch with sophomore Jessica Lepe and freshman Esmeralda Aguilar teaming up for a block. Lepe followed with a kill two serves later, while sophomore Maggie Aburto and freshman Nina Paey followed suit with kills of their own. The kills were sandwiched by a massive block from freshman Montana Gibson.

The Tigers continued to set the pace following the Chaffey timeout, but the Panthers remained feisty and trimmed their deficit to four at 21-17. Nevertheless, Riverside relied on the middle as Gibson teamed up with freshman Audrey Elias for a kill. Elias added a kill of her own a set later, backed by the game winner from Gibson leading to a 25-18.

Riverside carted their hot hand into the second set by snagging an early 10-0 advantage compliments of four kills from Aburto and a pair from Peay. However, a change in the tides saw the Panthers put together a 10-3 run leaving the Tigers up by three. Riverside served set point on a handful of occasions, but could not capitalize as the Panthers pocketed a 32-30 win in the second set.

Riverside followed by dropping the final two frames 25-21, 25-12.

Aburto led the team in 21 kills and 37 attempts. She added nine digs and one solo block. Peay earned her first-career double-digit kill match with 13 leading to a .214 hitting percentage. She added a pair of service aces in the process.

Gibson staffed the middle and saw the majority of her success in the first two sets leading to six kills and two blocks, while Lepe matched her six kills also coming in the first two sets.

Elias was the lone option at setter and a good one at that. She recorded a match-high 41 assists with a mere ball handling error. She added an ace and a block assist as well.