Valencia High girls volleyball hinted that its season might be turning around earlier this week with a win over Oxnard High.
The Vikings yelled it loud and clear in Thursday night’s Foothill League opener.
Valencia swept Hart High at home by scores of 25-21, 25-22, 25-17.
“(This was) probably the best match we’ve played all year to this point,” said Valencia coach Ray Sanchez, whose team didn’t win its first match until Tuesday. “.. To win in three against a good team, I couldn’t ask for a better start.”
The match swung in the second game.
Valencia (2-3 overall, 1-0 in Foothill League), nursing a one-game lead, scored three straight points to pull ahead 24-20. Two Hart points later, Toni Bito’s kill ended the game, 25-22.
Indians coach Mary Irilian said the difference was that Hart adjusted too slowly to Valencia’s offense.
“We lost six or seven points on their kills that weren’t even hard kills,” she said, “but they were placing the ball, and we weren’t able to step in and play defense.”
Madi Fay had 25 assists for Hart (6-2, 0-1), while teammate Zoe DiNardo led the way with 11 kills.
Valencia’s Bri Coleman had a match-high 15 kills. She tallied five of them early in Game 3, propelling the Vikings to an 8-2 lead they didn’t look back from.
The match was another step forward for Viking Lauryn Shockley in her transition to varsity. The junior recorded 11 kills as Valencia’s second attacking option.
And Vikings freshman Kaelyn White had 17 assists and six kills, a few of them particularly energized.
It all added up to an encouraging outing for a Valencia team that struggled in preleague play after losing 2015 All-Santa Clarita Valley Player of the Year Lauren Russ for the season due to injury.
“We have done a really good job of overcoming our adversity,” Coleman said, “and we came together as a team really well tonight and that showed.”
Hart opened up an 8-4 lead in the first game. But Valencia took a 12-11 lead on a Coleman kill and never trailed again.
“Every year they’re so invested emotionally with Valencia,” Irilian said. “They act like they’re our only opponent in the league.
“We keep trying to reinforce that they’re just another team in the way of (our) success.”
West Ranch 3, Golden Valley 0
The Wildcats swept the Grizzlies by scores of 25-15, 25-14, 25-12.
West Ranch’s Rissah Lozano had nine blocks and Tasha Skabelund had nine aces.
Emiley Grose led Golden Valley (3-4, 0-1) with seven kills.
Saugus 3, Canyon 0
The Centurions won by scores of 25-21, 25-22, 25-16
Saugus’ Gabby Scheisser had four aces, 28 assists and nine digs, while her teammate Caitlin Liebe had 15 kills.
Madison Guardado had 16 digs for the Centurions (5-5, 1-0).