After going 21-10 in the regular season, the College of the Siskiyous volleyball team has inched their way into the playoffs as the number 12 seed, which will pit them against Fresno College on Tuesday.
Coach Tom Powers believes the lower seed is an easier way into the elite eight, rather than the hard road they faced last season –  being a fifth seed, and then losing in the second round to Cabrillo College.
A higher seed would have pitted the girls against Sierra or Santa Rosa, teams that have decisively beaten COS this season.
The Eagles beat Fresno already this year in five games at the Delta Classic to win third place at the tournament.
“They are a good team but our other victory will translate into a win for us,” Powers stated. “We didn’t come out so bad considering the conference placing and seeding.”
The advantage for COS over Fresno is their schedule. They played three other colleges in their conference that made the playoffs: top seeds Delta, Santa Rosa and Sierra Colleges. Fresno has yet to play another playoff-bound opponent.
Right now Powers considers this year just as much a success as last season, even without winning the conference or knowing how far they will travel into the post season.
“To win 21 games with this group of young players was quite a feat for the players,” Powers said.
COS faced quite a bit of adversity early on. They lost three All-Conference players and an All-State player to the revolving door aspects of JC sports as well as Charmain Mortensen, who redshirted because of a leg injury.
The injury forced players to positions they normally wouldn’t play, causing COS to go into the season without knowing what they had. This didn’t discourage the team as many of the players accepted their roles and performed well.
The high point for the players was when they beat Fresno to take third at the Delta Classic. It was a turning point which gave them the boost and confidence they needed to compete.
“That was the moment they knew they could be a real contender in the conference and the playoffs,’ Powers said.
The low moments for the Eagles came in their conference opening loss to American River in five and then the four game loss to Butte College in their home gym. The team played well in both encounters but the ball just didn’t go their way.
COS was led by sophomore and All-Conference selection Stephanie Batchelder, who finished a top assist leader, averaging 7.8 a game. She was helped by a strong front line consisting of Honorable Mention Laura McMahon, freshman Kinzy Towery and two-sport athlete, Katie Zauner.
The back row was led by the team’s leading server Ashley Spalding, along with Samantha Stoneback. Brie Melton also played an important part, but had an injury late in the season which kept her out of several games.