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2014 season ...

24th-ranked Eagles top PC in conference opener

SAN JACINTO (9-24-2014) -- Mt. San Jacinto, which is unbeaten against California opponents but ranked only 24th in the state, surprised 14th-ranked Palomar 3-0 in the teams' Pacific Coast Athletic Conference opener on Wednesday evening.

The Eagles, playing at home, won 25-18, 25-22, 25-16.

For Palomar, Maci Lerno led in kills with seven. Kelli Iverson had five kills.

Mt. San Jacinto has lost only to Arizona Western College in going 7-1 this season. The Comets saw their 2014 record fall to 6-2.

State No. 14 Comets go 3-0 at Mesa Invitational

EL CAJON / SAN DIEGO (9-21-2014) -- Coach Karl Seiler's Palomar women's volleyball squad, ranked No. 14 in the California Community College Coaches Association state poll for the second week in a row, swept to three victories in three matches in the two-day San Diego Mesa Invitational.

The Comets opened with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 30-28) sweep of Cerro Coso on Friday.

They came back Saturday to defeat Citrus 3-0 (25-22,25-11, 25-23) and the NJCAA's Phoenix College 3-2 (25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 18-25, 16-14).

Maci Lerno had a big tournament for Palomar, which has started the season 7-1.

On Saturday, Lerno contributed 23 kills, 2 aces and 14 digs vs. the Owls and the Bears.

Rylee Zimmerman (above right, 14 kills, 5 aces,24 digs), Madi Stark (18 kills, 7 aces, 2 digs), Aspen Luedtke I51 assists) and Kelli Iverson (11 kills) also played major roles in Saturday's victories.

Aspen Luedtke of Palomar returns the ball right back at Irvine Valley's Marisa Doran on Wednesday at The Dome. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

State No. 2 Lasers hold off No. 14 Comets in 3

SAN MARCOS (9-10-2014) -- Palomar's three-match win streak to begin the season went by the boards in three sets in its home opener on Wednesday at The Dome, courtesy of the state's No. 2-ranked community college team, Irvine Valley.

The Lasers swept the state 14th-ranked Comets 25-18, 25-17, 25-15 as the visitors advanced to 3-0 on the season, including a five-set victory over the nation's second-ranked NAIA team, Concordia University of Irvine.

Palomar played its best volleyball early in the match, coming back from a 6-0 deficit in the first set to pull even at 6-6 and then 7-7. The Comets also were down by only one point, at 13-12, midway through the second half. But they never were able to take a lead in 1-hour, 44-minute non-conference match-up.

State No. 14 Comets host No. 2 Irvine Valley

SAN MARCOS (9-09-2014) -- The Palomar women's volleyball team, which is off to a 3-0 start and is ranked No. 14 in the state, could hardly have picked a tougher opponent for Wednesday's home opener than Irvine Valley, the team the Comets will play at 5 p.m. at The Dome.

The Lasers (2-0) come in ranked second in the state and are fresh from a five-set victory over Concordia University of Irvine, the No. 2 team in the nation in the NAIA. Concordia is ranked only behind the defending NAIA national champion, University of Texas at Brownsville. Concordia has been ranked in the top three in the last 37 national polls.

For its part, Irvine Valley is ranked behind only defending state champion Cabrillo, which has a 33-match winning streak, in the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association poll that was released on Monday.

Grossmont, which lost to Cabrillo in the 2013 state championship match, is No. 3 in the state rankings. In the Southern California poll, Irvine Valley is ranked No. 1, followed by Grossmont at No. 2, El Camino at No. 3, Santa Barbara City College at No. 4, Golden West at No. 5, San Diego Mesa at No. 7 and Palomar at No. 8.

Palomar, behind kill leader and returning first-team All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection Maci Lerno (above left), reached the No. 14 spot in the state rankings with victories over state No. 16 Chaffey 3-1, Pasadena City College (3-0) and San Bernardino Valley (3-0).

Lerno, a 5-foot-9 sophomore outside hitter / middle blocker from Southwest High School in El Centro who also starts for the Comets' softball team, is averaging 3.1 kills per set. Aspen Luedtke (above right), Palomar's freshman setter from Mission Vista High School, averages 8.30 assists per set.

Irvine Valley is led by Annie Mitchem, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Friendswood High in Friendswood, Texas who put down 16 kills in the win over Concordia and 19 kills in a 3-0 sweep over state No. 18 College of the Canyons.

Palomar is 3-0 after sweeping San Bernardino

SAN BERNARDINO (9-05-2014) -- Palomar is off to a 3-0 start after going on the road again and sweeping its non-conference volleyball match from San Bernardino Valley 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-17) on Friday night at the SBVC Women's Gym.

Madi Stark (left)  and Maci Lerno led the Comets with eight kills apiece. Rylee Zimmerman (right) had four digs, and Aspen Luedtke contribted 24 assists from her setter position.

Palomar will be back in action on Wednesday, when the Comets host one of the top teams in the state, Irvine Valley, at the Dome. The match is slated for a 5 p.m. start.

Lerno's 23 kills lead PC to pair of victories

EL CAJON (8-30-2014) -- Led by returning All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference selection Maci Lerno's 23 kills, Palomar's women's volleyball team opened its 2014 season by defeating Pasadena City College and Chaffey on Saturday in the Grossmont College Quad.

The Comets swept Pasadena 3-0 (25-18, 27-25, 25-23). They turned back Chaffey 3-1 (28-26, 25-13, 23-25, 25-8).

Lerno (left) put down 14 kills, Rylee Zimmerman 8 and Madi Stark 8 against Chaffey. Stark also had 15 digs.

Kelli Iversion led in blocks wit 3. Amanda Gibson contributed 9 digs, and Aspen Luedtke had 32 assists.

In the Pasadena match, Lerno had 9 kills and 11 digs. Stadi had 7 kills and 3 service aces. Luedtke contributed 27 assists.

Comets to begin 2014 season as road warriors

SAN MARCOS (8-11-2014) -- Coach Karl Seiler's Palomar women's volleyball squad will be on the road for most of the early season in 2014, with its home opener vs. last year's third-place state finisher Irvine Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. at The Dome, sandwiched between two stretches of away matches.

It will be the Comets' only non-conference home match of the regular season, and their only appearance at The Dome in a 32-day stretch that lasts from late August to the first week of October.

The Comets begin the season Aug. 30 against Pasadena City College (at noon) and Chaffey (at 4 p.m.), both on a neutral court at Grossmont College.

They'll travel to San Bernardino Valley on Sept. 5, will host Irvine Valley, then go back on the road to play in the San Diego Mesa Tournament on Sept. 19-20 before opening Pacific Coast Athletic Conference play at Mt. San Jacinto (on Sept. 24) and Southwestern (on Oct. 1).

Palomar eventually returns to The Dome for a PCAC match against Imperial Valley on Friday, Oct. 3, at 5 p.m.

The Comets have one returning All-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference first-team selection returrning, Maci Lerno.

MEET THE 2013 COMETS
No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 No. 5
Jelisa Navarette Maddy Scarlett Rocky Crook R. Zimmerman R. McFarland
No.  7 No. 8 No. 9 No. 11 No. 12
Katy Harlow Ashli Pardee Colleen Jones Kristi Mankey Maci Lerno
No. 13 No. 14 No. 17 No. 18 Redshirt
Nicole Alderman Kayla Hutchinson M. Middleton Hannahh Seits Alex Sendejas
         
Photos by Melinda Finn
Redshirt      
F. Sagapolu      

Off-season ...

ABOVE: Palomar's 2013 club sand volleyball team with coach Karl Seiler. The Comets will field a varsity intercollegiate team this upcoming spring. -- Courtesy photo

Addition of sand v-ball brings sport total to 22

SAN MARCOS (5-29-2014) -- Palomar has added women's sand volleyball as its 22nd intercollegiate varsity sport, Director of Athletics Scott Cathcart has announced.

The Comets will field its first team next spring with Karl Seiler, their indoor women's volleyball coach for the last 18 years, as head coach. Seiler, who will be head coach of both teams, has guided Palomar to conference indoor championships in 1996, 2002, 2003, 2008 and 2009.

He'll step down as an assistant for the men's volleyball team, which also plays in the spring.

The Californnia Community College Athletic Association added sand volleyball as a varsity sport at its March convention. It's been a club sport for the past two springs.

Palomar will play in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference along with five other first-year programs -- Grossmont College, MiraCosta College, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College and Southwestern College.

Seiler, the Comets' coach, played at Torrey Pines High School and for Palomar's men's volleyball team in 1988 and 1989 and has a Bachelor's degree from San Diego State University and a Master's degree from Azusa Pacific University. He's a full-time instructor in Palomar's Kinesiology Department. He said he's actively seeking players to play for both Palomar's sand volleyball and indoor volleyball teams.

"Sand volleyball gives us 11 men's sports and 11 women's sports and is a natural fit for our (athletics) program," Cathcart said. "It will provide a major enchancement to our established indoor program while expanding our offerings (in women's sports)."

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