Wildcats girls volleyball shakes off early mistakes to beat Burroughs

West Ranch junior Funmi Idowu (12) and senior Gwen Garate (51) go up for a block in a non-league matchup with Burroughs of Burbank at West Ranch High School Tuesday evening. Cory Rubin/The Signal

West Ranch volleyball struggled to close out its first game against John Burroughs. It dropped the second game, too, failing to attain a lead at any point.

But the Wildcats, brimming with new talent, came back to win the next two games to complete a 3-1 win over the Indians on Tuesday night at West Ranch.

“Obviously, we came down in the second set and it was more mental errors than anything,” said outside hitter Allison Jacobs. “We had to focus on refocusing for the third and fourth set and I’m really proud of everybody. Our chemistry is finally coming together and we’re really learning the nuances of everything.”

The Cats played confidently through the first game, garnering a nine-point lead towards the end of the game that seemed to set up a win. However, Burroughs went on two four-point scoring runs to close the gap to 24-21.

West Ranch sophomore Kyla Waugh goes up for the kill in a non-league matchup with Burroughs of Burbank at West Ranch High School Tuesday evening. Cory Rubin/The Signal

On the next play, though, Kiley Gustin executed a tip to close out the game at 25-21.

In game 2, the Wildcats struggled to keep control of the ball, with hits going wide or long throughout. West Ranch was able to tie the game at 7-7 on a kill from Jacobs, who leaves today for Egypt for the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship, but that was all the closer it got to a lead, eventually dropping the game 25-20.

Even when the outcome looked grim, experienced players like Jacobs and libero Olivia Hoffman kept the mood positive, whether it was offering encouraging words or dancing before a serve.

“Our libero did a really good job of captaining that ship,” said coach Jamey Ker. “She’s done a nice job of stepping into a leadership role this year and sort of even just being goofy to sort of keep people light and airy and at least just keeping that energy relatively high.”

The Indians pulled ahead early and mounted a four-point lead to start the game. However, after Burroughs’ advantage shrunk to 8-7, West Ranch went on a nine-point run to get a 15-8 advantage.

Well-executing serving secured key points for the Cats, with Gwen Garate, Erin Eskoff and Kaitlyn Jizmejian each registering aces in the game.

West Ranch senior Olivia Hoffman bumps the ball in a non-league matchup with Burroughs of Burbank at West Ranch High School Tuesday evening. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“Jamey gave us our targets and we hit the targets and served aggressive and that helped us get an advantage for our offense. That was awesome,” Garate said.

West Ranch was able to keep the Indians under 20 points in the game and took a 25-15 win after Burroughs had a double-hit on the final play.

The win was just what the Wildcats, who have seven sophomores on the roster, needed to completely refocus.

“Our sophomores are good,” Ker said. “So because they’re good at volleyball, even though they are young and inexperienced, they sort of tend to bounce back relatively quickly just because they know that they have skill.”

West Ranch secured a lead early in the fourth game and kept Burroughs from advancing. Later on, Allison Jacobs had back-to-back kills, followed by a kill from sophomore Kyla Waugh to put the Cats up 22-14.

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Burroughs again had a double-hit on the last play to give the Cats a 25-14 win to seal the match.

West Ranch is home again on Wednesday, this time hosting Quartz Hill at 5:30 p.m. It only adds to the game experience the team has been getting lately after wrapping up a two-day tournament over the weekend, then playing Burroughs two days later.

“Lots of rest, lots of water,” Garate said of how the team will prepare for Quartz Hill. “Sleep is going to be key and then just mentally preparing ourselves for tomorrow and pouring out every last bit of energy we have and putting it into tomorrow’s game.”

Hart 3, San Marcos 1

Game scores were 25-20, 26-24, 21-25, 25-20. Kylie Tengberg led in kills with 11 and Ruby Duncan logged nine kills and 16 assists.

SCCS 3, Pacifica Christian 0

On Thursday, Olivia Precioso led the Cardinals with seven kills and added an ace and a block. Kaysa Brown followed with six kills, nine assists, four digs and three aces. 

Courtney Lotz chipped in with four kills and Alicia Castillo had three kills to go with four aces and four blocks.

Austen Hermanson and Vanessa Garcia each recorded four aces to go along with 12 assists and 16 digs, respectively. 

Trinity Classical Academy 3, Desert Christian Academy 0

Monday’s game scores were 25-16, 25-18, 25-16. Paige Kim led Trinity with 11 kills. Reagan Fernandez had four blocks and Lily Caddow chipped in with four kills and six digs of her own.

Riley Spector added 13 digs and Nicole Amoroso dished out 19 assists.

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