Pierce Pioneer

College Basketball Game: Pierce vs Highline

Raiders hold eye of the storm

Marji Harris / Staff Photo
Ashley Howell (No. 20) is shown batting for the Raiders’ softball game.

Women’s Pierce softball: too legit to quit

On May 1, the Pierce Raiders and the Skagit Valley Cardinals competed at the level of superior athletes from the start. The sun was shining over the field and the crowd cheered for the young athletes while they performed in one of the closest matches they’ve had all season.

Prior to facing the Cardinals, the Raiders endured a lengthy and heartbreaking day against the fierce Edmond Tritons, who rank in at number two on the nwac bracket. Pierce pushed back with everything they had but in the end, it wasn’t enough.

“They have nothing to feel bad about. They competed like champions against one of the toughest teams around in a game that lasted much longer than expected, leaving them fatigued going into their next event,” said Duncan Stevenson.

Marji Harris / Staff Photo
Brooklyn Taylor-Sparks (No. 11) is shown pitching.

No. 11, Brooklyn Taylor-Sparks, pitching performance was highly impressive. She maintained a tight focus, keeping the pressure and throwing no-hitters for most of the game. The Raiders won the game 4-2.

No. 4, Allyssa Hansen, struggled earlier in the season due to a spinal injury. “She hurt her lower back, but made a steady recovery and continues to play,” said Austin Procter, Allyssa Hansen’s boyfriend.

Sparks, who is a sophomore, came in from Lacey, Washington after graduating out of Timberline High School. She earned the position as primary pitcher for the team, holding a pitching average of 11.56 and continues to mature into a bold young adversary.

Sparks is a strong contender, knowledgeable advocate and a graceful colleague. “She’s been a tremendous benefit to the crew, with a positive attitude and good sportsmanship. She’s also been a dependable side coach, always helping her peers,” said head coach, Mike Nelson.

“I am honored to have trained them. They are absolute warriors,” said Nelson.

Challenges were faced without a full team, but it promoted a sense solidarity. “We lost our main pitcher and a couple other girls along the way. Being short numbered helped us grow closer, connecting as a team,” said Riley Rivera (utility).

Nelson had a tough ride but in the end earned the team’s respect. “He’s been an outstanding mentor, taking the position on short notice and training us to compete on a whole new level. It wasn’t easy for him either since he never got to hand pick us during tryouts,” Rivera said.

No. 2, Kayla Washington, played third base and has been competing since she was ten.

“She’s the youngest of her two sisters,” said Washington’s mother, Kelley Washington. “This is her last year while studying for her associate’s degree. Her two sisters before her competed too and received scholarships for Howard University,” she said.

No matter what the girls went through… they never caved to the pressure.”

— Mike Nelson, Head Coach

Washington is the top batter for the team, always impressing the crowd as she steps to the plate while holding an average of .313. “Her confidence level is fierce. Everybody gets excited whenever she’s up to bat. She consistently performs well and always looks for improvement,” said Nelson.

Washington and Sparks used to compete against each other during their youth. “When they were ten years old, they were rivals from different schools,” said Kelley Washington.

Lily Hope, No. 15, plays shortstop and gave an impressive performance on the field as her boyfriend, Jacob Link, watched from the sidelines. “She’s doing great. They (the team) get along well and maintain their studies together,” said Link.

Hope has been an outstanding well-rounded competitor all season, showing every other competitor she’s worth it, claiming her time on the field. “Hope is a courageous young athlete. She’s the kind of athlete that makes plays nobody else can make,” said Nelson.

The Raiders fought through every injury and training exercise, surpassing every challenge with pride. “No matter what the girls went through or wounds they received during practice and events, they never caved to the pressure,” said Nelson.

As the season wraps up, the Raiders have no regrets with everything they’ve accomplished this year. “I enjoyed every moment as their coach and look forward to next year. They’re a tough bunch and deserve every bit of recognition for their efforts. Go-Raiders!” said Nelson.

Raiders embrace their brotherhood

Duncan Stevenson / Courtesy Photo
The Raider’s focus this season was to enjoy the experience, have fun, and be bold in their playing.

Through the ups and downs of the season, the Raiders came together as a team and ended strong

This has been a unique and challenging season for the Raiders men’s baseball team. But throughout the season, they played with heart and soul and finished as winners.

Coach Jake Philips and some of the players touched on the highlights of the season. 

Who showed the most improvement?

Sophomore No. 2 Colby Tam, a graduate out of St. Anthony’s High school in Waihe’e-Waiehu Hawaii., is the team’s most improved player for this season. Tam has been a utility player, meaning that he can play several different positions. A strong competitor who has also played every position, his energy and drive would draw in those watching.

Most memorable moments?

The team’s most memorable moments have been as they are competing against rival teams in the Tacoma area. When the Raiders win, they dog pile each other on the ball field after the game.

Duncan Stevenson / Courtesy Photo
Spencer Howell shown pitching for the Raiders.

Most surprising player?

Brock Wrolstad No. 24 turned out to be a surprise pitcher for the team. One of the other pitchers was out due to an injury, so Philips put Brock on the mound. After one of the games when he pitched a “no hitter” for four innings straight, Philips asked Brock how come he did not say anything about his pitching ability.

Brock’s answer characterized the team competitor that he is. “Well, you didn’t ask,” he said. He was more focused on getting out there and playing the game.

Biggest upset of the season?

Dominc Agron is a sophomore from Covington, Washington, graduating out of Kentwood High School. He started as the primary pitcher this season, and was talked about as the top pitcher in conference receiving consistent observation from scouts. 

Duncan Stevenson is the athletic director for Pierce College. He was very impressed with Agron’s pitching ability. “He would go out there and own the plate and with him being a short guy, nobody takes you as serious as they should and you shoot off like a thunder storm,” he said.

However, a serious elbow injury partway through the season has put his future baseball career into question.

The team kept true to the heart of the game, which is to go out there and have fun. In doing so, they were able to focus their energies into developing each other’s strengths. Overall, as of May 1, the Raiders ranked in the top five in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).

Game Schedule

Day: May 10

Time: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Playing against: Tacoma Community College

Where: Minnitti Field

Day: May 11

Time: 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Playing against: Tacoma Community College

Where: Mt. Tahoma H.S. Baseball Field

Pierce College at NWAC Volleyball Championship

See some highlights of the state championship, as well as hear Coach Finel share about his vision for next year.

Lady Raiders are No. 2 in Conference

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Women’s Volleyball Places Third in State Tournament

Pierce’s women’s volleyball team competed in the Northwest Athletic Conference championships from Nov. 15 to Nov. 17, hoping to rank in the top four, which would be a first for the program since 1980.

Though Pierce lost to Spokane and Highline at the Tacoma Convention Center, the Raiders placed third and felt proud of how they ended the season. Players Hattey Smith and Jocelyn Hillyer were the team’s most valuable players throughout the season and during the tournament.

In order to qualify for the championships, teams have to place in the top four out of 16 in the regular season. The tournament was held at the Tacoma Convention Center.

“Jocelyn was the MVP of the West; she finished the season first. She was first team selection,” said women’s volleyball head coach Greg Finel. “Hattey actually finished the season first in assists; she made second team (selection) for the West, and she made second team for the alternate team also.”

Even though those two stood out, the rest of the team did their part and held their own during the matches, Finel said.

“You have players who do really well when they lead different categories,” Finel said. “But it took everybody, every single person and every single moment to be as successful as we were. We had some players stand out this day, and another player stand out that day. So when one player wasn’t doing well, another one stepped up just to pick the other one up.”

The coach reflected on his time here at Pierce and working with the volleyball team. “I’ve been here three years, so it was a combination of all the work we’ve been putting forth in the last three years as far as going out and putting the right foot forward,” Finel said.

The chances of the Pierce women’s volleyball team being in the final two was squashed when they lost to their toughest competitors in the tournament.

As for any changes in the team’s roster next season, Smith said: “Some new freshman. But we have a lot of freshman this year, so the sophomore class will be really big.”

Finel shared his vision for next year’s team. ‘We’re losing three key players. But the goal is to bring in five to six new players that are bigger, better, faster, stronger than the players leaving and some of the players we have. The goal is to find the right fit, not just they can play, and they’re athletic and they’re big. But will they fit into the system and will they get along with the girls we already have?’

 

For more about Pierce College’s Raiders at NWAC Volleyball Championship, watch this video!

New Raiders on team roster gives hope for men’s basketball season

Raiders Athletics/Courtesy photos

It was a turbulent preseason for the Pierce College men’s basketball team as they finished with a record of 2-11. The men played hard and winning was not out of reach in many of their games, however. Of their 11 losses, 8 games were lost by 10 points or less. A couple bounces here and there or a few more shots falling in the hoop would have turned many of these painful losses into jubilant victories.

With margins that small there is plenty of hope carried by the Raiders and their fans. Though they lost their last three games, they were all within that small window of 10 or fewer points making all the difference. The addition of a couple new faces to the team seems to have brought some energy back into the Raiders’ strides, paving the way for the guys to end up on the other side of many of those losses in the matchups to come.

 

This year’s deep roster is comprised mostly of freshman led by forward Marquise Raybon (13.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 32.5 minutes per game) shooting, a team high, 51.2% from the field, and guard Daniel Gregory (31 minutes and 10.1 points per game). The sophomores, while in short supply, are making their impact felt in every game. Ronnie Roberson leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game, and Rakeem Hughey is the leading scorer thus far averaging 17.7 points per game.

The Raiders had a fresh start Wednesday, Jan. 10 as their regular season started to get underway at home against the cross-town rival Tacoma Community College Titans. Tip off was at 8 p.m. in the Health Education Center (HEC) at the Fort Steilacoom campus and all Pierce College students who attended received free T-shirts. Games can be viewed on the Pierce Athletics YouTube channel.

Game tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for seniors, military and students. All Pierce College students and children under the age of 12 get free admission to games. So, come out to the home games, grab something from concessions, and support the Raiders as they push forward and begin the battle for divisional dominance.

The next home game will be Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

First Raider women’s basketball starts season off strong

First+Raider+women%E2%80%99s+basketball+starts+season+off+strong

The 2018 basketball preseason has come to a close for the Pierce Raiders women with a final record of 4-9. Leading the charge offensively are freshman guards Sydney Dewitt, scoring 14.3 points per game, and Rube Daube, shooting an impressive 30% from 3-point territory.

Freshman Alexis Dixon seems to be finding herself a place to fit in the lineup as well, posting 43 points in her last four games. Victoria Mukisa, Jalani Palu-Thompson, and Kaytreeona Williams-Mack, this year’s sophomores, are doing their part as experienced leaders on the court as they continue contributing to the offense regularly and playing quality defense on the other side of the floor.

Williams-Mack leads the team with 8.1 rebounds per game while Mukisa and Palu-Thompson are both averaging above 9 points a game. The women are ranked second in steals at the end of the preseason averaging 14 steals per game, trailing only the 10-3 North Idaho Cardinals.

The Raiders finished the preseason strong, winning two of their last three games, and seem to be well prepared for their regular season trek as they attempt to keep the momentum in swinging in their favor.

The Raiders had a fresh start Wednesday, Jan. 10 as their regular season started to get underway at home against the cross-town rival Tacoma Community College Titans. Tip off was at 6 p.m. in the Health Education Center (HEC) at the Fort Steilacoom campus and all Pierce College students who attended received free T-shirts.

The game ended with the Raiders winning 64-60. Games can be viewed on the Pierce Athletics YouTube channel.

Game tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for seniors, military and students. All Pierce College students and children under the age of 12 get free admission to games. So, come out to the home games, grab something from concessions, and support the Raiders as they push forward and begin the battle for divisional dominance.

The next home game will be Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Raiders vs. Everett Trojans

December 14 @ HEC

 

Crossover Tournament
Final score 91-100
Raiders lost

Pierce College 2017 NWAC Women’s Volleyball

 

Read the full article here.

Raiders win first round in tournament

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

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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. Highline Thunderbirds

October 4 @ Heritage Field in Puyallup

Final score 0-3
Raiders lost

Raiders vs. Skagit Valley Cardinals

September 14 @ HEC

 

Final score 3-0
Raiders won

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