In each of Canyon volleyball’s three game wins on Tuesday night against Palmdale Aerospace Academy, Sasha Thomas-Oakley was the catalyst in one way or another.
The first game ended in a kill from Thomas-Oakley, the second in another kill and the third in a tip.
“She brings that power and I think without her, we wouldn’t be as stable or glued together because she kind of knows everyone on the team and bonds with everyone individually and together,” said opposite hitter Kyra Titner.
Thomas-Oakley wasn’t the only Cowboy in the spotlight in the home sweep, however. Multiple players shined as Canyon is beginning to gel as a team after somewhat of a rocky start.
In Game 1, Canyon (3-2) went on a seven-point run to take an early 8-2 lead. The Cowboys kept the momentum and won several key rallies, one of which featured a dig from Laska Stanford, a dig from Skylar Sabetta and a Thomas-Oakley kill, for a 25-10 win.
“Tonight this is the best I’ve seen Laska play defense her entire four years here,” said coach Robert Treahy. “So it was really nice to see her play both sides and she set probably one of the best games she’s set all four years she’s been here and played defense. It was nice to see her really bring it for the team.”
The Griffins (5-4) kept the second game fairly close until Canyon took a 14-11 lead on an Ariana Vargas kill. The Cowboys didn’t let off the gas and took the game 25-14.
Palmdale Aerospace Academy took their only lead of the night in the third game on a block, pulling ahead 4-3. Canyon quickly took back the advantage, however, on a kill from Thomas-Oakley and a block from Abigail Causey and Titner.
“In the past years I haven’t been able to get that many blocks and since I’ve been practicing more I’ve really learned a way to jump higher and get that many blocks,” said Titner.
The Cowboys wrapped up the third game 25-15 for the sweep, a welcome result for a Canyon team that struggled in rotations and figuring out lineups at the start of the season.
“We controlled the things we needed to control. We kept our serves in, we were confident, we stayed home and we played defense when we should be playing defense,” Treahy said. “It makes a big difference when we’re doing the things we can control.”