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|The 2015 Comets
|(Photo by Hugh
PC rebounds to sweep
Chaffey; Niu stars
WOODLAND HILLS (8-27-2016)
-- Palomar, with a young team and some key injuries,
stumbled out of the gate in its first match at the
Second Los Angeles Pierce Kickoff Classic over the
weekend. But the Comets battled back with three strong
performances including a 3-0 sweep of Chaffey.
hitter Kianna Niu, a transfer from College
of Southern Idaho who played at Valley View
High School in Hemet, had a big weekend in
her Palomar debut with 72 kills and 61 digs
in four matches (16 sets).
On Friday, the
Comets lost their tournament and season
opener to Santa Barbara City College in
three sets, then dropped a marathon to
Pacific Coast Athletic Conference North
favorite MiraCosta in five sets. On
Saturday, coach Karl Seiler's squad lost to
Rio Hondo in five sets, then swept Chaffey
in three sets.
Santa Barbara def.
Palomar 3-0 -- Niu began her first season at
Palomar by recording 13 kills and 15 digs in
a 25-17, 25-23, 25-7 victory for the
Vaqueros. Also for the Comets: Madyson
Lozano had four kills, Karina Tellez recoded
1 digs and setter Ashley Aubele had 12
assists and seven digs.
Palomar 3-2. The Spartans finally prevailed,
holding off the Comets 25-13, 13-25, 25-22,
24-26, 15-13 for their first win over
Palomar since the late 1980s. The Comets had
won all four meetings between the teams
since MiraCosta brought back volleyball two
years ago after dropping the program for 23
years. Niu contributed 19 kills and 16 digs.
Also for the Comets, Gabby Hutzler had 12
kills, Tellez had 11 kills, Lozano
accumulated eight kills and three aces and Aubele
totaled 36 assists.
Rio Hondo def. Palomar 3-2 --
Niu (22 kills, 19 digs) led the way as the Comets
extended the Roadrunners to five sets before finally
losing. Lozano had six kills and Sammy Campos five
kills. Hutzler and Tellez each had nine digs, and Aubele
dished off 38 assists.
Palomar def. Chaffey 3-0 -- Niu
finished off the weekend with 18 kills and 11 digs while
Lozano also had a big match with 13 kills and three
aces. Aubele had 40 assists. Tellez had 12 digs, Hutzler
Libero Wendy Garcia digs the
ball during Palomar's Southern California Regional
playoff match with Bakersfield College last Nov. 24 at
The Dome. Garcia has become the fifth sophomore from the
Comets' 2016 indoor volleyball team to land a
scholarship to a four-year college, to Robert Morris
University in Chicago. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Madi Stark, pictured
delivering a kill in Palomar's 3-0 sweep of San
Bernardino Valley at The Dome last Sept. 4, has
received a volleyball scholarship to NCAA Division
II Holy Names University in Oakland
-- Photo by Hugh Cox
Garcia scholarship brings PC
transfer list to 5
SAN MARCOS (8-01-2016)
-- Libero Wendy Garcia has become the fifth
sophomore from Palomar's 2015 women's indoor volleyball
team to secure a scholarship to a four-year uiversity.
Garcia, an El Camino High
School product, is headed to Robert Morris University in
Chicago. She was an All-Pacific Coast Athltic Conference
honorable mention selection and was a key member of
coach Karl Seiler's team that went 15-8 and tied for
second place in the conference.
Garcia's late service ace gave
the Comets a 25-20, 18-25, 25-17, 26-24 victory over
rival MiraCosta last Oct. 21 and a sweep of their season
series from the Spartans.
Kelli Iverson, an outside
hitter from Christian Life Academy in Escondido and a
two-time All-PCAC first-team pick, accepted a scholarship
to Division I Grand Canyon University at the semester in
January. Iverson played beach volleyball for the the
Antelopes in the spring and will play two seasons of
indoor volleyball beginning this fall.
Madi Stark, an outside
hitter/opposite who was a two-time first-team
All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection, is
transferring to Holy Names University in Oakland.
Bethany Prochnow, a middle
blocker who won second-team All-PCAC honors last fall,
received her scholarship to Coker University in
Hartsville, South Carolina.
And Vanessa Flores, a defensive
specialist who was an All-PCAC honorable mention
selection, also is transferring to Holy Names.
Stark and Prochnow are both
Elsinore High School products. Flores prepped at
Whittier High School.
Kelli Iverson has accepted a beach volleyball
scholarship to NCAA Division I Grand Canyon
University. She played two seasons of indoor
volleyball and one season of beach volleyball for
the Comets. The 5-foot-11 Iverson, who played
outside hitter for Palomar's indoor team, will have
three seasons of eligibility in beach volleyall with
the Antelopes. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Iverson earns D-I scholarship
to Grand Canyon
PHOENIX, AZ (1-06-2016)
Palomar's Kelli Iverson has landed a beach
volleyball scholarship to NCAA Division I Grand Canyon
University and will have three seasons of eligibility
for the Antelopes.
The mid-year transfer becomes
coach Karl Seiler's first beach volleyball scholarship
player. The Comets fielded their first-ever
intercollegiate beach volleyball team in spring 2015 and
Iverson teamed with Gabby Hutzler to become Palomar's
first winning duo in history as the pair defeated their
Fullerton College opponents 21-16, 21-14 in the Comets'
first match ever, a 4-1 victory over the Hornets on
The 5-foot-11 Iverson, who played outside hitter for
Palomar's indoor team, will have three seasons of
eligibility in beach volleyall with the Antelopes. She
came to Palomar from Christian Life Academy in
was a first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic
Conference selection for Palomar's indoor team this past
fall. The Comets placed second in the conference and
advanced to the state community college Southern
Grand Canyon loses six
sophomores from its 2015 beach volleyball team that went
9-6, defeating LSU, TCU, New Mexico (three times),
Loyola Marymount, Concordia of Irvine and San Jose State
while losing to Hawaii twice, Pepperdine, Nebraska, USC
and Long Beach State.
2015 Season ...
Ex-Comet Lerno 10th in nation in
NAIA in kills
BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (12-15-2015) --
All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team
volleyball selection was named a first-team All-Mid
South Conference selection at the conference tournament
banquet at the Corvette Museum.
Lerno, a junior at Cumberland
who had played her two seasons at Palomar under Karl
Seiler, finished 10th in the nation in NAIA in kills
with 4.1 per set (505 kills in 122 sets) during the
recently concluded 2015 season.
Lerno, who also starred in
softball for the Comets after arriving from Southwest
High School in El Centro where she was Imperial Valley
Girls Athlete of the Year as a three-sport athlete as a
senior, also was 12th in the conference in digs with
During Cumberland's 2015 season,
Lerno posted double-figure kills in 27 of her team's 31
matches. She posted a season-high 31 kills at Life
University, 28 at Shawnee State and 25 versus the
University of the Cumberlands at home.
Lerno is one of three sisters
who played intercollegiate sports at Palomar. Her mother
is Imperial Valley College softball coach Jill Lerno.
Stark, Iverson, Schade make
All-PCAC 1st team
SAN DIEGO (12-04-2015) -- Second-place finisher Palomar landed three players
on the All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first
team in women's volleyball.
Named to the first team, in
selections by conference coaches: Madi Stark, sophomore
outside hitter/opposite from Elsinore High School;
Kelli Iverson (left), a sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker from Escondido's
Christian Life Academy; and freshman middle
blocker/opposite Taylor Schade (right) from Elsinore High.
Three Comets were picked on the
second team: Kayla Boatright, freshman setter from
Temescal Canyon High School; Hayley Poueu-Silveyra,
freshman outside hitter from Great Oak High School; and
Bethany Prochnow, sophomore middle blocker from Elsinore
Palomar had three honorable
mention selections: Vanessa Flores, sophomore defensive
specialist from Whittier High School; Wendy Garcia,
sophomore libero from El Camino High School; and Kelsey
Payne, sophomore defensive specialist from San Dieguito
Brooke Callahan-Daywalt of
champion Grossmont College was named Player of the Year
in the conference. Grossmont's Jamie Ivers, whose team
won a sixth consecutive PCAC title, was selected as
Coach of the Year.
TOP PHOTO: Chico State transfer
Taylor Schade picks up a points in Palomar's 3-1 victory
over rival MiraCosta on Wednesday night with one of her
six blocks. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Kelli Iverson delivers one
of her match-high 11 kills. -- Photos by Hugh Cox
Garcia's late service ace
SAN MARCOS (10-21-2015) -- Palomar swept its season
series with rival MiraCosta and took over undisputed
second place in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference
women's volleyball standings on Wednesday evening,
turning back the visiting Spartans in four sets.
The scores were 25-20, 18-25,
25-17, 26-24, with Libero Wendy Garcia finishing off the
Spartans in set 4 by contributing the final two points,
including an ace serve for the 26th point.
Coach Karl Seiler's Comets
(10-5, 7-2 in the PCAC) have handed MiraCosta (11-3,
6-3) two of its three 2015 losses and are 4-0 vs. the
Spartans since MC brought back volleyball last season,
23 years after dropping the sport following its final
match in 1991.
Kelli Iverson, Madi Stark,
Taylor Schade and Hayley Poeu-Sylveria hammered the
Spartans statistically. Iversion contributed 11 kills
and three blocks. Stark had 10 kills. Schade delivered
five kills and six blocks. Poeu-Sylveria had three
Kayla Boatright set 31 assists.
The state No. 18-ranked Comets
stunned the No. 14-ranked Spartans by jumping out to an
8-1 lead to begin the first set. Palomar led 12-2 at one
juncture and Stark's kill for the 25th point ended the
After MiraCosta scored 11 of
the final 15 points to take the second set, the rest of
the night belonged to Palomar before an appreciative
crowd at The Dome.
It was close for awhile in set
3 before the Comets rattled off four straight points,
punctuated by back-to-back perfectly-placed points by
Schade and Stark, to turn a one-point lead into a
five-point lead at 19-14. A MiraCosta violation gave
Palomar the 25th point and capped a 9-3 run to end the
After the Spartans led
throughout the early going in the fourth set, the Comets
pulled even at 13-13, took a 15-14 lead on an Iverson
kill and led most of the way after that before MiraCosta
edged in front 24-23. At that juncture, Garcia tied the
set at 24-24 by finding a hole in the Spartans' defense,
then ended the match with the service ace.
Stark (20 kills, 4 blocks),
Comets top MiraCosta
OCEANSIDE (9-18-2015) --
Madi Stark continued her red-hot early season
run on Friday as she led Palomar to a 3-2 comeback victory on the
road over rival MiraCosta in the Comets' Pacific Coast
Athletic Conference women's volleyball opener.
Stark put down 20 kills and
added 2 blocks as the Comets came back from losing the
first two sets 26-24, 25-13 to defeat the
Spartans in the final three sets 26-24, 25-23, 15-11.
MiraCosta was flying high after
sweeping defending state community college champion
Irvine Valley 3-0.
Taylor Schade and Hayley
Poueu-Silveyra each had 8 kills for the Comets. Wendy
Garcia contributed 15 digs, and Kayla Boatright (right)
had 4 aces.
Luedtke Big Ten bound, to Rutgers University
BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (5-13-2015) --
Palomar setter Aspen Luedtke, a 2014 All-Pacific
Coast Athletic Conference first-team selection, has
accepted a full volleyball scholarship to Rutgers of
the Big Ten Conference.
Luedtke, a freshman out of Mission Vista High
School, will become the second Palomar volleyball
player to play for the Scarlet Knights. Robin Allyn,
a Vista High School product who played two seasons
for Comets coach Karl Seiler, was a middle blocker
for Rutgers during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. Allyn
later returned to Palomar as an assistant coach.
Luedtke averaged 7.80 assists per set in making the
2014 All-PCAC team after helping lead the Comets to
a 13-3 conference record and second-place finish
behind champion Grossmont, which reached the CCCAA
state title match. Palomar finished 19-5 overall.
She becomes the second player from Palomar's 2014
volleyball team to sign with a four-year college.
Sophomore outside hitter / middle blocker Maci
Lerno, who also plays softball for the Comets,
previously received a volleyball scholarship to
Cumberland University of the NAIA.
Luetke also played for the Comets' first-ever sand
volleyball team during the recently-concluded
Rutgers, officially "Rutgers, The State University
of New Jersey", is the eighth oldest college in the
United States, founded in 1766. The Scarlet Knights
fielded their first athletic team (rowing) 151 years
ago in 1864. Rutgers defeated Princeton at College
Field in New Brunswick on Nov. 6, 1869 in the first
intercollegiate football game ever played. The
Scarlet Knights, formerly a member of the Big East
Conference, joined the Big 10 in 2012.
Academically, Rutgers was ranked 52nd in the world
in the 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities
Luedtke will become the first Palomar female athlete
to play for a Big 10 Conference school since
Danielle LeBeau, who was the third-leading hitter on
Ohio State's 2012 softball team.
Palomar coach Karl Seiler and Aspen Luedtke, who
has accepted a volleyball scholarship to Rutgers
With Palomar volleyball coach Karl Seiler looking
on, Maci Lerno signs a letter of intent with
Cumberland University. -- Courtesy photo
PC's Lerno signs
SAN MARCOS (3-06-2015) --
Palomar volleyball and softball standout Maci Lerno
has signed to play volleyball at Cumberland
University in Lebanon, Tennessee. She'll transfer to
Cumberland, a member of the Mid-South Conference in
the NAIA, after the current Palomar softball season.
Lerno, an outside hitter and middle blocker, was a
two-time first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic
Conference selection in volleyball.
Lerno came to Palomar from Southwest High School in
El Centro, where she was the Imperial County Girls
Athlete of the Year as a senior in 2012-2013 after
dominating in volleyball, basketball and softball.
She has two older sisters who were softball
standouts for the Comets and is the daughter of
Imperial Valley College softball coach Jill Lerno.
Cumberland is best known for winning the NAIA
Baseball World Series three times, including its
2014 team that upset Lewis-Clark State 3-0 in the
championship game. The Bulldogs also had a runner-up
finish in the NAIA national women's basketball
tournament in 2007.
Cumberland University, founded in 1842, has a strong
academic reputation and has developed its strong
small-college athletic reputation after originally
playing football regularly against major Southern
programs in the early 1900s. In 1903, the Bulldogs
pinned back-to-back defeats on Alabama 44-0 and LSU
41-0 and won the Southern Intercollegiate Assotiaion
championship after tying Clemson 11-11 on
However, for all its athletic successes, Cumberland
is best known for a 222-0 loss to Georgia Tech on
Oct. 7, 1916 at Grant Field in Atlanta, the most
one-sided loss in college football history.
Maci Lerno finesses the ball
over the net for a dink kill to give Palomar an 18-14
lead in the third set Friday night at The Dome. Lerno's
16 kills led the Comets to a 3-0 sweep of rival
Photo by Hugh Cox
Lerno (16 kills) and Comets
SAN MARCOS (11-07-2014) -- Maci Lerno smacked a kill
down MiraCosta's collective throats in the opening
seconds of the first set and Palomar continued on to
a 25-16, 25-18, 25-19 women's volleyball sweep at
The Dome on Friday night.
With the victory, the Comets
swept their season series from their North County rivals
2-0 and closed in on at least a second-place finish in
the conference and a sure state community college
Lerno (16 kills, 2.5 blocks, 18
digs, an ace and a .452 hitting percentage) and Madi
Stark (10 kills, 10 digs, 1 block) dropped the hammer on
the Spartans as the Comets kept their pedal to the metal
from the beginning of the match to the end to record
their third sweep in a row and 11th sweep of the season.
"It was one of our best matches
of the year, by far," said coach Karl Seiler, whose team
upped its record to 16-3, 10-2 in conference and drove
MiraCosta (9-10, 6-6) deeper into sixth place. The
Comets have won five straight matches and 10 of their
Colleen Jones added 13 digs and
3 service aces for Palomar. Setter Aspen Luedtke had 31
Brianna Sizemore had 12 kills
for the Spartans. Carly Cameron contributed 16 digs.
Setter Taylor Little had 27 assists.
Palomar, ranked No. 16 in the
state, never trailed in the first set, opening up a
In the second set, MiraCosta led
briefly at the midway point before the Comets took the
lead back at 15-14 on a Lerno kill and steadily drew
away. Out of Palomar's last 12 points, Lerno had 4 kills
and a block, Stark had 3 kills, Jones had two aces and
Luedtke delivered the 25th point with an ace.
In set No. 3, the Spartans hung
around for a while, but never threatened. Lerno put down
a kill for the 25th point.
Palomar's Maci Lerno (left) and Rylee Zimmerman
(right) deliver kills against MiraCosta in the
first set on Wednesday night. -- Photos by Hugh
MiraCosta bringing volleyball back after dropping
the sport 23 years ago, it was the first time the
two teams have played since 1991.
Same old story 23 years later for PC, MiraCosta
OCEANSIDE (10-08-2014) -- Palomar College and rival
MiraCosta lined up to play each other in women's
volleyball on Wednesday evening for the first time
in 23 years.
Facing each other at the same MiraCosta gym where
Palomar took 57 minutes to dispose of the Spartans
15-5, 15-8, 15-3 on Wednesday night, Nov. 13, 1991,
Wednesday's meeting lasted significantly longer and
was way more competitive, but had a familiar result.
As in both of their 1991 matches when Palomar swept
twice, the Comets won.
This time, Palomar outlasted the Spartans in five
sets 25-22, 23-25, 24-26, 25-14, 17-15 in a Pacific
Coast Athletic Conference match during which the two
Highway 78 rivals battled tooth-and -nail,
back-and-forth for 2 hours and 18 minutes.
One month and nine days after the teams' last
meeting prior to Wednesday, on Dec. 17, 1991, the
MiraCosta College board voted 5-2 to drop women's
volleyball and four other sports. This is the first
season since then that the Spartans have had a team.
The state 22nd-ranked Comets (9-2, 3-1) got a
combined 44 kills from Rylee Zimmerman (17), Madi
Stark (14) and Maci Lerno (13) in defeating the
Brianna Sizemore-led Spartans (4-7, 1-3)
Hannah Seits contributed three blocks. Aspen
Luedtke, the Palomar setter, had 42 assists.
After the teams split the first two sets, MiraCosta
heated up and opened up a 22-13 lead in the third
set before the Comets battled back. Getting monster
kills from Seits and Zimmerman, and a key block by
Seits, Palomar pulled to within a point, then tied
the set 24-24. But the Spartans scored the last two
points of the set and took a 2-1 lead into set 4.
The fourth set turned out to be the only one-sided
set of the evening. The Comets went on a surge to
lead 13-8, forcing a MiraCosta timeout, and it was
19-13 when Lerno served five straight points, making
At that juncture the Spartans broke service, but
Stark's kill won the set for Palomar 25-14.
The Comets led most of the way in the fifth and
deciding set, but the Spartans kept battling back,
tying the score and eventually taking three
one-point leads at 13-12, 14-13 and 15-14. With the
teams tied 15-15, Lerno put Palomar up by a point
16-15 with a block.
The match-winner came when MiraCosta was called for
touching the net.
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