By Nate Graham
For The Signal
The Wildcats were simply unable to recover from a blunder in the middle of the second game on their home court as they lost in straight sets (23-25, 22-25, 24-26) to Beckman High School in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs on Tuesday.
“We picked a bad time to have a bad match, we were off tonight,” said Coach Johnson. “The things about our team that have gotten us to where we are at were not working tonight.”
After narrowly losing the first set, a yellow card relegated Johnson to the bench in the second. The Wildcats (26-6) couldn’t bounce back from the moment as they lost the second set (22-25) and narrowly lost the final set to the Patriots (24-9).
“I really like to be a coach that’s a part of the action,” said Coach Johnson. “That may have thrown them off a little bit because I am usually so involved at every point, but you can never blame a loss on the refs.”
Errors were a key to the Wildcats’ defeat as they had 15 service errors and 16 hitting errors on the night that accounted for 31 of Beckman’s 76 total points.
“We just didn’t keep our energy high,” said sophomore Zack Drake. “We were slow from the start and when your energy is slow right off the bat, then it’s usually going to go downhill from there.”
It was a disappointing end to what was a season to remember for West Ranch after they went 26-5 overall with a perfect record in Foothill League play.
“I told the boys that one match does not define your season,” said Coach Johnson. “It’s an unfortunate end, but what defined their season was their 26 wins and their 10-0 record in league.”
In their final match together, brothers Zack and Tyson Drake lead the team in both kills and assists with Zack landing 10 kills and Tyson handing out 32 assists.
Although this is their final match together, younger brother, Zack Drake, hopes to take a lot away from this season to carry on to his junior year.
“We had a lot of errors tonight, but as a team we need to stay aggressive no matter what the score is and continue to play our game.”