By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats (17-4, 11-0) had one goal in mind at the beginning of the season. With their win against the Hart Indians (12-6, 7-3) on Thursday, their goal of winning the Foothill League title was officially accomplished.
The Wildcats beat the Indians in four sets (25-27, 25-17, 25-13, 25-22). After dropping their first set, which came all the way down to the end with a score of 27-25, the Wildcats would proceed to win their final three sets in a row to secure the league title.
“It feels amazing,” said Wildcats head coach Jamey Ker when asked about what it means to win the league title. “I was just telling the girls it was such a wonderful way to finish the season coming with a league title coming off a win against Hart, who has become our rivals over the past couple seasons. We’ve shared the title with them the past two seasons so I’m just overwhelmed with pride because we are actually able to walk away with a solo league title, and it happened with beating our rivals.”
Kennedy Osunsanmi led the team with 14 kills, with a .400 kill rate, and six blocks. Kiley Gustin, who is also the senior captain, finished with nine kills while also leading the team with 11 blocks and contributed four digs.
“It was our last big game, especially for me as a senior,” said Gustin. “It felt good to go out with my team to play our hearts out. It felt great to secure the league title, especially it being our first time with a solo title and being a senior. I’m excited for the playoffs. I believe our team has a really great chance of doing well this year.”
McKenna Edwards led the team in assists, finishing with 52, and Kelsey Schauble finished with 33 assists. Kaitlyn Jizmejian led the team with 21 digs and Victoria Davis finished the match with seven kills at a .400 kill rate while also contributing nine blocks.
“I was super excited. Our team chemistry was amazing,” said Davis. “I feel like this is the cleanest match we’ve played together as a team this season. It’s our first non-shared league title. It feels great to come off it undefeated, especially against a great team like Hart. It was amazing.”
The Indians stuck around the entire match despite dropping their final three sets in a row. Madison Maxwell finished with 18 kills, four blocks and 15 digs, and Morgan Dumlao finished with 28 assists. Indians head coach Mary Irilian is still optimistic they can finish the season out strong and secure the No. 2 spot before heading into the CIF playoffs.
“West Ranch’s serving was on point,” said Irilian. “We were struggling on serve receive for quite some time. I feel like we’re right there with them but we just had some missteps. We want to focus on ourselves and keep playing as a team. We just wanted to go out there and play our best and hopefully make a push for a secured second spot to help us have a better shot at the CIF playoffs.”
The Wildcats’ next match is scheduled to be played against Golden Valley on Thursday. The Indians’ next match is scheduled to be played on Tuesday against Canyon.