West Ranch heads to Paloma Valley for second-round playoff match

Erin Eskoff (20) and Funmi Idowu (12) of West Ranch go up to deflect a shot by Saugus at Saugus on Oct. 3. Dan Watson/The Signal

By Bryanna Winner
For The Signal

West Ranch volleyball is slated to take on Paloma Valley in the second round of CIF-Southern Section Division 3 playoffs tonight. Both teams are coming off 3-0 wins against their respective first-round opponents.

After losing to Hart in the Foothill League finale on Oct. 17, West Ranch bounced back to defeat Crescenta Valley at home 25-17, 25-21 and 25-19 on Oct. 24. 

West Ranch (20-4) is led by UCLA-commit Allison Jacobs, who has had 345 kills, 13 aces and 162 digs in the 57 games she has played this season. In the win against the Falcons, Jacobs had 24 kills and 14 digs. 

Junior Erin Eskoff has 86 kills on the season so far and leads the way in assists for West Ranch with 461. Against the Falcons, Eskoff had 43 assists to help West Ranch to a 3-0 win and advance to the second round of playoffs and keep their season alive. 

West Ranch has many underclassmen on the team that have stepped up to the plate in their first varsity season. Sophomore Kiley Gustin has 107 kills, five aces, and 43 digs in 65 games played while Kyla Waugh has had 51 kills, 23 aces, and 25 digs in 58 games. During their first playoff match, Gustin had eight kills and nine digs while Waugh had five kills and two digs.

Kiley Gustin (24) of West Ranch taps the ball over the net against Saugus at Saugus on Oct. 3. Dan Watson/The Signal

Paloma Valley was previously part of the Sunbelt League and were the Division 5 runner-ups during the 2018 season before moving to the Ivy League and up to CIF-Southern Section Division 3 before the 2019 season began. 

On Oct. 24, Paloma Valley (27-6) is coming off a 3-0 win against the Claremont Wolfpack 25-15, 25-15, and 25-17. Before this playoff match, Paloma Valley went through league play undefeated to earn the Ivy League title.

Compared to the young West Ranch team, which has eight underclassmen on the roster, Paloma Valley is upperclassmen heavy as six of their 17 athletes are seniors and nine are juniors.

Paloma Valley finds its kill leader in senior Gabby Hollins, who has 247 on the year. Hollins has 29 aces and 157 digs to go along with those kills.  

During their matchup against Claremont, Hollins had nine kills and five digs. Senior Lizzy Markovska led the team in kills, aces, and digs against the Wolfpack with 21 kills, three aces and eight digs. Markovska has 30 aces, 78 digs and 167 kills in 44 games this season.

Junior Gwen Poulsen leads Paloma Valley in aces with 62 and digs with 253 while junior Olivia Karwin has 56 kills, 55 aces, 127 digs and leads the team in assists with 744. Poulsen and Karwin each had five digs while Poulsen had four aces and Karwin had three against the Wolfpack. 

The match will start at 6 p.m. in Menifee and the winner will face the victor of the Fountain Valley/Rosary Academy match on Wednesday. 

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