Two upsets in one week was too much for the Modesto Junior College volleyball team to pull off.
Aiming to secure a playoff spot, the Pirates instead played inconsistent against visiting Delta, which won 30-28, 30-17, 30-28.
Modesto is still in contention, but its status isn't as certain as it would have been had the Pirates defeated the Mustangs, ranked third in Northern California. Modesto, ranked 11th, beat No. 4 Santa Rosa last week in four games.
"All our significant losses are to teams that are ranked," head coach Dave Winfrey said. "We have a really strong possibility for playoffs. We didn't get killed in these games, if they look at the scores. All that will be taken into consideration."
In game-point situations Wednesday, Modesto served into the net twice and hit into the net. They were rather disappointing endings for the Pirates to dwell on.
"Anytime it gets close we seem to lose it," middle hitter Kelsey Wingo said. "I just wanted to beat them. Especially with the ugly game we played (in Stockton, Oct. 12), I wanted us to show we could play with them and beat them."
Wingo, who led Modesto in kills with 10, found no consolation in the Pirates playing better against Delta the second time around the Big 8 Conference schedule. Modesto (15-9, 5-5 Big 8) had two games within reach.
Trailing 20-10 in the first game, Brittany Nielsen served up 10 consecutive points, including four aces, to tie the score. The teams traded points on several rallies, but the game ended with one of Modesto's 12 service errors in the match.
"Some people do dread serving," Nielsen said. "It's my favorite part of the game. I always go for the ace. It's the greatest feeling. The most frustrating thing is missing. I lost a game point because I hit the ball into the net."
Modesto couldn't get out of a hole in the second game after Delta (18-7, 6-2 Big 8) went on an eight-point run to lead 21-9.
The Pirates stayed close throughout the third, leading 20-19 and 28-27, both times after stringing together four consecutive points. But the game ended on a bad serve and two bad passes.
Wingo vowed for better from the Pirates in Friday's match at top-ranked Sacramento City.
JC Men's Basketball
DE ANZA 80, COLUMBIA 75, at Cupertino -- LaRon Burnett had 21 points and Leo Sarrade grabbed 16 rebounds. But turnovers (they made 20 of their 30 in the first half) and free throws (they were 13 of 31) hurt the Claim Jumpers.
"We did a great job rebounding the ball; we did a terrible job once we had it," Columbia coach Nate Rien said.
Sarrade added 12 points and Ray Baca and Malcom Giles 11 each. Guard Xavier Lewis had 24 points for De Anza.