Shelby Grubbs’ kill was definitive. It won the final set against West Ranch, it won the match and it won the Foothill League title.
Even though Hart’s sweep of the Wildcats at West Ranch on Tuesday earned them an early league crown, the Indians insist the battle isn’t over quite yet.
“We’re feeling super excited to already have secured league champs but that’s not enough for us,” said Grubbs. “We want to go undefeated.”
A flawless league champion season has never been achieved in Hart program history, but the team is well on its way after sweeping the Cats.
The Indians (20-5 overall, 9-0 in Foothill League) cruised to a 25-12 win in the first game, doubling West Ranch’s score for the majority of the frame. Hart went on a five-point run to secure a 9-3 lead, then a six-point run for a 21-9 lead. Ruby Duncan and Zoe DiNardo sealed the game with a double block.
“Our game plan is to be disciplined on defense,” said Hart assistant coach Sia Irilian. “We stopped when their hitters were swinging, reading their offense and making sure we prepped for that day in and day out.”
The Wildcats, who were coming off a four-game league win streak, held the advantage at the start of Game 2, but Hart quickly rallied to go point-for-point until scoring four consecutive points for a 12-8 lead. Duncan shined, coming up big with a block and scoring three points to keep the Indians ahead.
Megan Soto executed a block then CJ Catabona served up an ace two plays later for a 25-16 win.
West Ranch (13-15, 5-4) played its toughest game in the third, coming back from a 7-1 deficit to tie it at 10 on an Allison Jacobs kill. The score evened out twice more before Hart pulled ahead on a kill from Grubbs.
Grubbs’ game-winning kill brought the final score to 25-22 and was set up by Kylie Mattson, who finished the game with 24 assists.
“She’s the most reliable setter,” Grubbs said of Mattson. “She will dive after every ball … get every ball to make sure we get that ball. She’s amazing.”
Hart continues its quest for a perfect season on Thursday night as they host Saugus at 5:30 p.m. West Ranch will host Canyon on the same date and time.
“That’s been our main goal since the very, very beginning and that’s what we’re going to do,” Mattson said.
Saugus 3, Valencia 1
Game scores were 25-20, 29-25, 25-22, 25-18. Kayla Tait led the Centurions with 15 kills and 16 digs. Amira Fann had 8 blocks and 19 assists.
Saugus is 19-10 overall and 6-2 in league. Valencia is 10-22 and 1-7 in league and plays at Golden Valley on Thursday at 5:30.
Golden Valley 3, Canyon 0
The Grizzlies won with game scores of 25-23, 25-23, 25-23.
Sophia McRae had a team-high 17 kills for Golden Valley, followed by Jordan Nunez with 15. Reinyel Leonidas chipped in 14 digs and Melanie Nicholson had 25 assists.
The Grizzlies are 20-11-2 overall and 2-6 in league play. Canyon is 11-11 and 2-6 in league.