The West Ranch boys volleyball team beat Palos Verdes High in three games on Tuesday at West Ranch in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Game scores were: 25-19, 25-22 and 25-20.
The Wildcats were bumped up from Division 2 to Division 1 this year, but the team showed no signs of fear.
“It seemed like they were the same as any other match we played all season,” said coach Nate Sparks.
West Ranch (22-9) never trailed in the first game and opened the evening with a confident win. Game 2, however, was different.
The Sea Kings held a lead until a block from Derek Seo gave the Cats a 15-14 edge.
The Wildcats fended off a few more even-score situations, the last of which was a 22-all scenario.
The combination of a Cameron Bertolett block, a Michael Flores ace and a Seo kill stomped out any chance of a Palos Verdes win.
“It was super important because if they won that set, the momentum would’ve been on their side and it could’ve possibly made us go to five,” Bertolett said. “Winning that was probably the most important set of the game.”
Palos Verdes (23-10) brought height and aggressive hitters that didn’t quit when Game 3 came around. West Ranch blockers stuck close to the net and watched the outside to counter the Sea Kings’ power.
“In previous games our energy has gone down and then our play goes down,” said Bertolett. “But we had energy throughout the whole game and we played super well.”
The Cats jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the final game and didn’t let up.
Flores finished the match with 16 kills and nine digs. Bertolett had 12 kills and five digs and Seo added seven kills and four digs.
“When those guys are on fire, we’re hard to beat,” Sparks said.
West Ranch will host Oak Park in the next round of playoffs at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Oak Park eliminated the Cats from the playoffs in the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals last year.
Santa Barbara 3, Valencia 0
The Vikings lost in three games at Santa Barbara with scores of 20-25, 15-25 and 19-25 in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs.
Andrew Johnson had eight kills and Dorian Ellis added six kills.
Valencia finished the season 13-20 overall and 7-3 in league.
El Segundo 3, Saugus 0
In the first round of the Division 2 playoffs, the Centurions lost in three games. Scores were 17-25, 22-25 and 24-26.
Victor Ramirez had eight kills, while Luke White had nine digs. Gage Smith had 11 kills and Steven Stanley had 25 assists.
Saugus was 13-10 overall and 7-3 in league this year.