Jessica Casey had warned her team.
The Central Valley Conference is big, fast and physical, and the Merced College women's volleyball coach did her best to impress that upon her team ahead of Wednesday night's conference opener.
Porterville's Amanda Monge hammered home Casey's point far more effectively than words ever could.
The Pirate middle blocker wields a powerful jump serve, which she used to break open the opening set with an 11-0 run. It set the tone for the game as Porterville used an aggressive service game to cruise to 25-14, 25-15, 25-15 victory at Don Reid Court.
"We knew looking at Porterville's game scores and record that they were going to be pretty good," Casey said. "We tried to get the girls ready for what they were going to face, but when you don't see it everyday, it's tough to simulate.
"This was a good introduction to the CVC."
Things started out OK for the Lady Devils (0-1 CVC, 4-4), fighting to a 7-7 score early in the first set.
But Monge quickly took over. The sophomore didn't record an ace in the game, but the Pirates (1-0 CVC, 8-4) still rode her serve to an 11-0 run and an 18-7 lead.
The MC passing game crumbled under the onslaught, and Monge (match-high 12 kills) and Nayeli Colunga (12 kills) feasted on free balls.
"Our communication with the setter never really got going tonight," Casey said. "We never even got close to running what we do.
"We allowed another team to come in and dictate the game on our side of the court."
Merced never led by more than two points in any set on the night.
Jaclyn Frank paced the Lady Devils with six kills and Kayla Gentry added four. Serryna Gonzalez had a team-high 13 assists.