By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats (13-3) came into their matchup against the Canyon Cowboys with a 7-0 league record. Their performance against Canyon (7-10) showed why their eighth league win in a row was no fluke.
The Wildcats won in three straight sets (25-4, 25-22, 25-10) against the Cowboys on Thursday as they continued their league dominance before the CIF playoffs. Despite the loss, Cowboys head coach Samantha Holcombe believes her injured team still found ways to grow and it is something they can carry over into the next game.
“Hopefully some of our injured players are healthy by the next game,” said Holcombe. “We got some younger talent, which is great. We got to capitalize on opportunities — if we get a solid pass, we need to be able to put it away.”
The Cowboys were led by senior Nia Marshall with four kills at a .444 kill rate and senior Madison Lindner with two aces. Sophomore Madison Andrews led the team with three blocks.
The firepower for the Wildcats proved too much for the Cowboys while also being all over the court on defense, only allowing 14 total points in the first and third set. Wildcats head coach Jamey Ker is proud of his team’s performance and said this was the best he’s seen his team play in a while.
“I thought tonight we did the best job of the year to keep our team interested and loud,” said Ker. “I feel like we got better tonight. We came into this game and for the past couple of weeks to come into these games to get better and not just get wins. If we keep training the way we’re going to play then we are building the right habits moving forward.”
The Wildcats stayed relentless all game. Sophomore Kennedy Osunsanmi led the team with seven kills with a .333 kill rate followed by junior Bridget Conley with five kills at a .200 kill rate. Senior captain Kaitlyn Jizmejian led all players with five aces and senior Kelsey Schauble led all players with 23 assists.
“I was finding the ball in my hand, which wasn’t happening in the past couple games,” said Jizmejian, when asked about leading the team in aces. “It was a good game to prepare for Saugus. It feels good to be undefeated this far into this season. It’s really exciting.”
Sophomore McKenna Edwards finished the day for the Wildcats with two kills and five digs while also coming second on the team in assists, finishing with 22. Edwards said the Cowboys have gotten better over time, so being on edge and trying to get better was the main goal coming into this match.
“It was about getting excited and keeping the energy this game,” said Edwards. “We’ve been known to lose the energy after the first set so we wanted to bring as much energy as we could. We will keep the energy going by practicing at 100%, focusing on playing these teams and staying focused as much as possible.”