In the fifth game of a match against Valencia, West Ranch had the momentum. It was just hidden for a few moments.
Trailing by two points, the Wildcats broke for a timeout. On the other half of the break, West Ranch battled back to tie the game three times. Each time the Cats came within striking distance of the lead, the bench exploded; stomping the ground, doing the wave and yelling whatever they could do to dig up the momentum.
Eventually, Allison Jacobs was able to set up the match point with a kill, then the Cats won it all, 3-2, on a Vikings’ net violation.
“I said to my team … it was 15 versus six,” Jacobs said. “It wasn’t just six people on the court playing the other side. Our entire team was in on it and that’s why the intensity was so high.”
With the win, the Wildcats maintain an undefeated 4-0 record in Foothill League play.
Valencia didn’t hand over the win without a fight.
West Ranch got out to an early lead in the first game, but the Vikes tied it up at 7-7 on a hit from Alyssa Grodell and gained the advantage shortly after when they went on a six-point scoring run.
The game was tied later at 22-22, but Valencia pulled ahead by one on a kill from Kaelyn White. White also had the game point with a tip to make it 25-23.
The Wildcats were able to even the match in Game 2, even though they started behind. A six-point scoring run earned them a 9-7 lead. Arianna Romagnano, the Cats’ serving specialist, stepped in for an ace at one point during the run.
“I don’t think she missed and the number of balls that she hit the targets that I asked her to do,” said West Ranch coach Jamey Ker. “That was one of the better serving specialist games I think she’s ever had and I would definitely contribute some success to her.”
A block from Kiley Gustin got West Ranch the game win at 25-22.
Valencia had a clear advantage in Game 3, going on several short scoring runs and forcing the Wildcats to make repeated errors. A hit from Grodell brought the final score to 25-14.
The score was flipped in West Ranch’s favor in the fourth game. The Wildcats refocused and scored the final four points of the game on Vikings’ errors.
West Ranch came out strong in the final game, quickly gaining a 3-0 advantage. The Vikings kept it close, but were unable to get ahead until a massive block from White.
Valencia’s blockers, especially White and Bernard, were some of the toughest challenges the Cats faced in the match.
“Being able to spread our offense a little bit more so that those big blockers have to move a little bit more makes a big difference,” Ker said. “We spent some time this year working on higher attack lines, hitting the ball at a higher point so that when that ball does get touched, it ricochets in the direction we want it to.”
Romagnano’s serving forced a Valencia hit to go long, then forced an error to get the Cats back in the lead at 9-7.
The advantage switched hands once more time on an ace from The Vikings’ Avery Cop and a kill from Bernard, then the time out that triggered West Ranch’s momentum followed.
Jacobs executed seven kills in the stanza, which made for her best game in the match.
“That final set was some of the best volleyball I’ve ever seen her play and it was against a good team who was doing good things against us, good blockers who were doing good things against us,” Ker said.
West Ranch next plays Hart, which also has an undefeated record, on Thursday at home. Valencia will be at Saugus. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
“We have to go out with the same adrenaline,” Jacobs said. “We have to use this mojo going in. That Hart team is a really good team, so we have to go in with that same adrenaline for sure.”
Trinity Classical 3, Faith Baptist 0
The Knights won in three games: 25-21, 24-14, 25-15.
Nicole Amoroso had 24 assists and nine digs and Paige Kim had six kills and 13 digs.
Riley Spector had 15 digs and Reagan Fernandez chipped in with 10 kills.
Palmdale Aerospace 3, SCCS 2
The Cardinals fell in five games: 23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 23-25, 8-15.
Kaysa Brown finished the night with 10 kills, 22 assists and 22 digs and Olivia Prezioso chipped in with eight kills and four digs.