Things did not look good for the Santa Clarita Christian School girls volleyball team in the first game of a league match against Faith Baptist at Santa Clarita Christian School on Tuesday.
Sloppy play and miscommunication led the Cardinals to fall behind in the first game and lose by double digits, but thanks to the players’ resiliency, they fought back to overwhelm a strong Faith Baptist squad in four games: 14-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-17.
“We came out and just made too many errors,” said SCCS head coach Darcy Brown. “Momentum wasn’t there and we made too many mistakes, it wasn’t the way we normally play. Sadly, that’s how we can play if we are not careful so I was really proud of them battling back.”
Down 8-3 to begin the second game, Brown called an early timeout to regroup and calm the girls nerves down and reassure them of how they usually play.
The Contenders didn’t let off the gas pushing the lead to 14-7 due to multiple Cardinals hitting errors.
With the ball in hand, Cardinals Austen Hermanson delivered three of her six aces on the night to mount the SCCS come back down 15-13.
“Once we were able to get refocused and started playing the way that we know how to play, rather than scrambling on defense, we were able to control the game the rest of the game,” Brown said.
Trading point-for-point the rest of the game, neither team succumbed to the pressure until an ace by Vanessa Gracia made it 25-24 in the Cardinals’ favor and won the game on the next point thanks to a Faith Baptist hitting error.
After the second game win, the momentum swung in the home team’s favor as they jumped out to a 10-7 lead with two aces by Emalie Soules to force a Faith Baptist timeout.
Five different Cardinals recorded at least one ace in the frame as Gracia (2), Hermanson, Paige Clayton and Alicia Castillo helped build the home team’s lead.
Although the Contenders rattled off seven of the final nine points, the Cardinals created enough separation to win by five points.
With the chance to seal the victory on the line in the fourth game, the Cardinals quickly took a 5-1 lead and after Gracia delivered three aces in a row to make it 14-7, it looked like SCCS was on its way to a win.
Faith Baptist got within three points, down 19-16, but thanks to Soules and Gracia each serving up an ace in the final six points of the match, the Cardinals earned their third Heritage League win of the year.
“This team has a lot of fight,” Brown said. “They don’t go down easy, but sadly, we make too many errors too easy, but we are a team that knows how to battle and come back.
The Cardinals’ next opportunity for a win comes next week on Thursday, Sept. 19 as they host Lancaster Baptist at 5 p.m.
“We have to clean up the errors, obviously,” Brown said. “Not settling back and playing somebody else’s game, but having enough mental fortitude to play our game the way we know how to play and not let somebody else control it for us.”