Pierce Pioneer

Raiders win first round in tournament

Stronger, faster, better Raiders show what they are made of


Pierce College Raiders (left to right) #14 Ryleigh Burdick and #6 Kenzie Seltz after NWAC Tournament at Pierce College Health Education Center Monday, November 20, 2017.

Chloes Galiki and Caleb Bromley/Video Credit

From the start of the game the Raiders showed they meant business. #2 Julia Heronema, an outside hitter, dominated the court with repeat power hits. Two minutes in to the game and the score stood at 12-2.

#12 Allie Bauer, team setter, seemed to have the skill of a seeker. When the Saints (Mt. Hood) sent the ball over the net, more often than not Bauer would be there to either set it up for a power hit or just send it back.

The Raiders would win the game 25-10.

The Saints caught their rhythm in the second game. Nearly every point the Raiders gained, the Saints answered. Three minutes in and the score was tied 14-14. For the rest of the game each side fought point for point, keeping the score tied.

When the score reached 20-20, the Saints managed to gain the upper hand, winning 25-23.

In the third game, Raiders again scored almost immediately, but the Saints answered right back, tying the score 3-3.

Then the Raiders suffered a reversal of fortune. They continued to fight to get ahead, but the Saints defense would knock them down, gaining the lead at 12-6.

Then the Raiders sent a combination of power hits and sneak attacks, bringing the score to 17-11. They held their ground, slowly closing the gap to 20-18.

Despite the Raiders’ best efforts, the Saints had a few sneak attacks of their own. They won 25-19.

The Raiders started the fourth game with fresh energy. They haven’t made it passed the first round in the tournament in 3 years and today they were determined to change that.

The Saints also came in the game with fresh energy. Both teams answered point for point, but eventually the Raiders were able to score just enough to stay 2-3 points ahead of the Saints, ending the game at 25-20.

The Raiders kept the energy going into game five. They needed to win it if they wanted to stay alive. Otherwise it would be the survival round later that day if they were to stay in the tournament.

Again, they wasted no time in scoring, but the Saints weren’t about to let them get comfortable. Both teams wanted this win bad.

The Raiders kept finding holes in the Saints’ court, but the Saints never let up the pressure, staying just a few points behind.

But the Raiders never lost their lead and would win the game 15-12.

At the end of the game the coach, Greg Finel, was proud of his team. “It was a great opportunity for the players to show what they are capable of. Great champions get knocked down, but then get right back up,” he said.

When asked what made this team different than other years, his answer came without hesitation. “They play for each other. They look out for each other. They care about each other. It makes a difference,” Finel said.

Raiders vs. Skagit Valley Cardinals

September 14 @ HEC


Final score 3-0
Raiders won

Raiders Fight Hard for a Division Title

The Raiders volleyball team starts the season with a record of 3-2 in division play.


The Raiders season started off to a tough start including a 5 game losing streak. Overall the Raiders have a record of 10-16 with a 4-2 record in conference matchups. Pierce has won 5 of their last 8 games featuring a homecoming thriller at home versus their arch rival TCC. The Raiders came into to their crucial battle versus TCC with a lot of confidence after a dominant 3-0 performance against Green River in their 5th conference game of the season. TCC came into the game with a conference mark of 2-2 after coming off a nail biter against S. Puget Sound. TCC started strong taking the first set 25-18. The Titans continued their hot start winning the second set 25-24. The matchup seemed to be a mismatch.

Down 2 sets, the Raiders came together as they have all year and fought back winning a match saving 3rd set 21-17. The Raiders defense was fierce in the 4th set holding the Titan’s offense that had been in sync all night long to 17 points. The teams battled back and forth the whole night and never letting down which accumulated into a match winning 5th set. 

The Raiders and Titans went in to the 5th set having very different ways of getting there. The Titans came out of the gates swinging opening a 2-0 lead, whereas the Raiders shifted the momentum and dominated TCC in the final 2 sets. The 5th set was an epic battle between division rivals. Both defenses stood strong until the very end with Pierce’s coming out on top. The Raiders offense scored 20 while their defense allowed a mere 18 points.

The Raiders comeback was their second straight conference win giving them a record of 5-2. The next game for Pierce was against another conference rival in Centralia (1-6).

The Raiders came into the matchup with a lot of confidence and swagger from their big comeback victory. Centralia on the other hand came into this matchup on a 5 game conference losing streak.

The 1st set was a duel of offenses with Pierce eking out a win 27-25. The next two sets were anything but competitive. The Raider annihilated Centralia by scores of 25-14 and 25-11 giving Pierce a playoff convincing 6-2 conference record.

The next big game for the Raiders is on October 26th as they take on a power house S. Puget Sound team.      

Greg Finel becomes Pierce College Volleyball’s Head Coach

Assistant coach moves up


Pierce College is pleased to announce the selection of Greg Finel as the new head coach for the Raider Volleyball program. Finel served as an assistant coach with the Raiders this past season, helping lead the team to their first appearance at the NWAC Championships since 2012.

Finel has coached club ball the past six years. He has been with the Lake Tapps Volleyball Club (LTVC) the past four years, and was with Above the Net for two years before joining LTVC. His club teams have won two bids to participate at Nationals, and many of his players have earned college scholarships. Finel is also an accomplished player and coach in beach volleyball.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Coach Finel take over the reins of the program,” said Pierce College Athletic Director Duncan Stevenson. “He provided a great deal of leadership this past season in his role as assistant coach, and we see nothing but great things for the program in the year ahead. His passion for the sport of volleyball, and his approach to developing the skills and abilities of young women in a positive team environment are a formula for success for Raider Volleyball.”

“I am truly excited about the opportunity to be named as the head coach of the Pierce College Volleyball program,” said Finel.  “I look forward to developing the program, continuing our success from 2015, and growing our Raider Volleyball Family.​”

A native of Washougal, Wash., Finel attended at Clark College and Eastern Washington University. He currently works as a branch manager for Randstad Staffing, and lives in Puyallup with his wife and their two sons.

End of the season review: Volleyball

The season for our volleyball team has ended and the focus for next season begins

The Raiders volleyball team fell into fourth place in the NWAC West division this year, missing the playoffs by just one place down. The team pulled off 5 league wins this season, but came away with 9 losses also. Their division was tough this year with Tacoma going 13-1 and Highline right behind them at 11-3.

The turning point for this season was the match at Grays Harbor. The Raiders needed to win the next 3 out of 4 games in order to reach the play-offs.

The game at Green River, which was the Sophomore night, was a need to win game.

“We played well again, but again Green River stood tall, blocked well, and played well,” said Doug Carlson, Raiders volleyball head coach of the game. “We performed good, but they performed better.”

On the offensive side of the game, the kills ( successful, legal, point-scoring play ) leader this year was Hailey Harn with 195. Right behind her was Brianna Hardee (167) and Taylor Buell(113).

Defensively, the digs (A defensive contact following an opponent’s attack resulting in a playable ball) leader was Helena Stout with 452. Following up was Taylor Buell (284) and Brianna Hardee (254).

“Hailey Harn and Brianna Hardee played really well, hitting outside for us and playing great defence with blocking real well. Those two are our stand out players this year.” Carlson said when asked about stand-out players. Both are sophomores that will not be returning for next season.

This year is a building year. Five freshmen were on the team this year and are expected to be back for next season.

“We have a good freshmen class.” stated Carlson “I am excited to have the freshmen. We will have a good returning class.”

Stats for the season


Games played: 80
Kills per game: 9.65
Assists per game: 8.60
Service aces per game: 1.62
Reception errors per game: 1.46
Digs per game: 19.76
Blocks per game: 1.01
Ball handling errors per game: 0.05
Reception errors per game: 1.46
Overall record: 9-12  Conference: 6-8

Head Coach: Doug Carlson

Asst. Coach: Cami Medlock

Team: : Brianna Glass, Taylor Buell, Karissa Smith, Brittany Smith, Breana Horvill, Lianna Guajardo, Haley Harn, Samatia Huntley, Marissa Morris, Helena Stout

Thunderbird’s take down third place Raiders

Justin Harmon Staff Writer

It was a tale of two nights for Pierce’s women’s volleyball team. In a match-up pitting the second place Highline Thunderbirds against the third place Pierce Raiders viewers witnessed two talented teams go head to head Wednesday night as they get ready for the upcoming playoffs.

Early on it looked as if it would be the Raiders night. Mackenzie Valdez and Brittany Rutherford were a force to be reckoned with throughout the first set. Behind Kill after Kill the raiders jumped out to a 19-13 lead and were seemingly in control of the game.

Valdez standing 5 feet six inches tall did much of her damage (13 kills overall) in the first set. Valdez along with Rutherford combined for 21 kills altogether and helped set the early tone for the Raider’s volleyball team. “I thought we served well and played good Solid Raider volleyball,” said Head Coach Doug Carlson.

The Thunderbirds would narrow the margin to 21-19 but behind two vicious spikes from Freshman Casey Williams the Raiders would put the set away 25-21.

Unfortunately, that would be the high point of the night for the Raiders. Highline would take a 6-2 lead early in the second set forcing Coach Doug Carlson to take a timeout. The Raiders clawed back to even the score at 6-6 but behind great defense and a flurry of blocks the Thunderbirds went on stifling 19-4 run to close out the second set 25-10.

Mikaela Ballou and Jessica Markham who combined for 27 kills led the Thunderbirds on an 8-0 lead to start set three. The Raiders rallied for a 17-14 point differential over the latter half of the set but couldn’t overcome the early deficit. The Thunderbirds took the third and fourth set by scores of 25-14 and 25-8 all but seizing momentum and taking the win in a dominant effort.

“We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make. It’s as simple as that,” Said Coach Carlson. When asked if he thought the defense of the Thunderbirds led to the momentum shift he responded,” I thought they were good not great. I don’t think it was anything they did that disrupted us.” The Raiders look to rebound at the Crossover tournament Oct. 18th-19th before traveling to Centralia Oct. 23rd.

Pierce College hosts state championship volleyball game

Denise Yochum
Contributing Writer 

Dear College Community,

You may have heard that Pierce College will be hosting the WIAA 2A State Volleyball Championships on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10, at the FS HEC.
This is the first time that Pierce College has had the opportunity to host a state championship event, and it will be quite an undertaking.
The HEC will be fully taken over by the WIAA to run the state championship, and as a result, will have some impact on our normal flow of academics and events.

The HEC will shut down on Thursday, Nov. 8 at 12:00p.m. for set up of the event.  There will be no classroom, fitness center, gym, or locker room use in the facility until Monday, Nov. 12.  Academic classes in the HEC will move to other buildings on campus for their Friday sessions.  Most of the event spectators will use the South Parking Lot and South Overflow Lot.   The Dental Hygiene parking lot will be used for event staff and team parking on Friday and Saturday.

If there are any areas of questions or concerns, please direct them to me; otherwise Duncan and Doug will be on-site full-time for the event, and any logistical questions can be directed to them.

We look forward to a great community and state event, and know that this will be attracting students and bringing Pierce College to the forefront of students and parents minds when they are choosing a college.

Go Raiders!


Denise Yochum
Pierce College Fort Steilacoom
(253) 964-6776

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