Questionable 5th set call leads to volleyball loss to Jurupa Hills

Colton plays its best volleyball of the season in their first Skyline League match, but fall short despite efforts from several key players


Alyssa Garcia

Jayda Porter rises up to block the devastating attack of Spartan middle blocker Tara Biscan during the second set of the Yellowjackets 3-2 loss to Jurupa Hills.

Colton, CA—After a tough start, the Yellowjackets have gelled over the last week, putting together a three-game winning streak and breaking even on the season with a 5-5 record. They brought this newfound confidence in with them as they faced the Jurupa Hills Spartans in the first Skyline League game of the year.

The result was a back-and-forth 5 set match that ended with a Spartan 3-2 victory (25-20, 10-25, 22-25, 25-15, 9-15).

Leslie Venegas (30 attacks, 3 kills, 4 digs), Joleena Silberman (22 attacks, 5 kills, 14 service receptions, 12 digs, 7 aces), Glory Mgbemere (8 attacks, 2 kills, 3 blocks, 3 aces), and Jennifer Amaral (1 attack, 13 service receptions, 24 digs, 2 aces) once again took the lead for the Yellowjackets in a three-plus hour match that showcased the best play of the team’s year.

For the Spartans, they were led by senior middle blocker Tara Biscan. Biscan dominated the middle of the court, finishing the game with 11 kills and 3 blocks. Her presence was enough that Glory Mgbemere, after the match, shared, “Honestly, my heart was literally beating outside my chest. I was literally terrified.”

That hesitation was shared by Mgbemere’s teammates through the first half of the match. While they put together a 25-20 win in the first set as the teams felt each other out, in the second set Biscan and her teammates, especially freshman Aleida Nunez, dominated the Yellowjackets and won 25-10.

It looked like things were going to keep going the Spartans’ way as they won the third set, too, 25-22, but late in the third set Colton found their confidence when Justeen Robledo reacted to a particularly powerful attack by Biscan. Robledo dived to the court and dug out the ball, saving the possession. The Yellowjackets, shocked by Robledo’s play, lost the point, but suddenly everything seemed to click.

“It just makes me feel good that they cheer me on like that,” Robledo said about her team’s positive response to her play. “Even if I do bad, they still pick me up.”

In the fourth set, Colton came out strong and furious, led by Mgbemere and Silberman. Mgbemere, along with middle hitter Jayda Porter put up multiple blocks on Biscan, shaking her confidence. The Yellowjackets dominated the set, 25-15.

The last set was truly back-and-forth, with the Spartans taking the early 0-2 advantage, then Colton fighting back to tie the game at 7, but with the Spartans leading 9-10, a questionable non-call against Nunez shifted the momentum fully over to Jurupa Hills. It looked like Nunez, going up for a tip of the ball over the net, got too much hand on the ball. The first referee, seated above the action, initially called in favor of Colton, but then changed the call after the second referee, who wasn’t as close to the action, called in favor of Jurupa Hills.

The air taken from their sails, the Yellowjackets did not score again, losing the final set 9-15, and dropping their first league match of the year.

“There was a throw,” head coach Anthony Wade said about the official’s call. “I do definitely think that was a bad call. That’s all I have to say.” 

The Yellowjackets don’t have much time to lick their wounds. They play Fontana this Friday at 4 p.m.