Although the first two sets were well contested losses by the Patterson High girls varsity volleyball team, the Tigers faded in the third set to drop to El Capitan 20-25, 19-25 and 10-25 for a loss in Central California Conference play.
Senior Natalie Collins led El Capitan with six kills, 10 assists, seven digs and three aces during the Gauchos victory.
Tigers seniors Jordan Patterson and Kiana Kainoa finished with eight and seven kills respectively. Junior Rylee Archuleta and sophomore Emma Medina finished with seven and six digs on Monday.
Patterson kept the first set close with a 7-7 tie through the first 14 points, but the Gauchos pulled away to build a six- point lead up 16-10. The Tigers were never able to trim the lead down to no more than a five-point difference before succumbing in the first set 20-25.
The Tigers held a slim lead early in the second set, but after trailing 9-8 the Gauchos went on a 4-1 rally to take a 13-10 lead.
That three-point spread would last until Patterson was able to tie it at 18-18, but El Capitan countered by outscoring the Tigers 7-1 in the late stages to advance to a win.
The third match began on even footing, but the set quickly spiraled out of control. A 1-0 start became a 4-2 deficit for the Tigers. Patterson would struggle to score any points after that swing in momentum, getting outscored 21-6 over the duration of the final set to fall to the visitors.
Patterson hosted Atwater High on Sept. 25 after press time. The Tigers are slated to visit Central Valley High on Sept. 30.