Women’s Volleyball: Historic Rio Hondo season ends in third round of playoffs

Rio Hondo closed out the 2023 season with a 21-5 overall record.
Rio Hondo closed out the 2023 season with a 21-5 overall record.

EL CAJON – An impressive Rio Hondo College women's volleyball season came to a conclusion with the No. 6-seeded Roadrunners' 3-0 loss at No. 3 Grossmont College on Saturday in Round 3 of the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

The 25-20, 25-23, 25-14 final set scores might not accurately reflect the Roadrunners' effort. Rio Hondo battled throughout and was as close as 22-21 in the momentum-deciding second set. The Roadrunners couldn't sustain any long scoring runs and weren't able to overtake a strong Grossmont (26-1) team that had lost just one match all season.

Despite the ending, the 2023 season will be remembered for many historic achievements. Rio Hondo captured its first-ever South Coast Conference championship, its first conference title since 1995 as a member of the Foothill Conference. The Roadrunners were nearly perfect in conference play, going 15-1 in SCC matches.

Ending with an amazing 21-5 overall record, the Roadrunners advanced to a level never achieved in program history by reaching the third round of the Southern California Playoffs. Rio Hondo came up just one win short of advancing to the state championships for the first time. The Roadrunners were also ranked as high as No. 9 this season in the CCCWVCA State Poll.

The program continues to reach new heights under head coach Teddi Esko after last year's squad (2022) finished second in the SCC and made it to the second round of the playoffs. For her efforts, Esko was named the Southern California Coach of the Year. She also took home South Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight year.

Sophomore outside hitter Maria Bejines wrapped up a solid two-year career for Rio Hondo. The 2023 South Coast Conference Most Valuable Player was also named second-team All-American, All-State, and all All-Southern California.