Photo by Experience Correspondent Cathie Lawrence
With a combination of hard spikes, lockdown defense and concise communication, the Los Medanos College Mustangs won 3-1 on their home court against Yuba College Wednesday, Nov. 3 to keep their winning streak going and to stay in the running for the playoffs.
The team, 8-3 in conference play and 14-15 overall, secured much-needed points with perfectly orchestrated sequences led by sophomore Team Captain Jontara West (No. 7).
“We needed this win,” she said. “Volleyball is such a mental game. If you’re in your head, it’s hard to get out.”
The victory put the Mustangs on a four-game streak, securing much-needed conference games as they are currently third in the Bay Valley Conference.
West turned out to be one of the Mustangs’ biggest weapons in the game. Yuba College could not find a way to stop her spikes on the left side of the net. In the closing minutes of the third set, she led the Mustangs to a dominant finish. The team collectively gave up very few points by feeding that left side and setting her up to score.
“That left side is my go-to,” she said. “We don’t really have plays in volleyball, but we have sweet spots. That left side is definitely my favorite spot.”
And that spot was put on full display. West was in the zone and took full advantage of those opportunities to score.
The story that kept being told toward the end of the game was that the Mustangs were not giving up points easily. With sophomore Shelby Bryant (No. 5) always at the right place at the right time to recover spikes and sophomore Jayla Austin (No. 25) blocking everything that came her way, LMC’s defense was perfectly synced and a force to be reckoned with.
After hitting the game-finishing spike, West rushed the sidelines with her teammates to celebrate as the crowd gave a standing ovation, screaming and cheering after experiencing the athletic show.
With the victory against Yuba in the books, the Mustangs had three more must-win games left on their schedule against Contra Costa College, Solano College and College of Marin to secure a spot in the playoffs.
“We’re going to keep winning. We have to win,” said a confident West. “It’s not going to be an easy journey, but it’s going to be a sight to see.”