Vikings girls volleyball (12-5, 6-2) notched its third straight win on Thursday with a big win at West Ranch (5-6, 4-3).
Valencia won with scores of 25-22, 19-25, 25-13 and 25-17.
The Vikings’ offense surged with strong swings coming from all over the net. The team was led by outside hitter Hailey McKell, who tallied up 10 kills.
The scores make it clear that this match was up in the air for the entirety of the first two sets. However, quick adjustments and a diverse offense led the Vikings to big wins to close out the game.
Valencia served well to start and sparked early, quickly going up 12-4. The Cats’ serve receive and digging struggled for most of the night, giving all of Valencia’s hitters a good chance of putting up numbers.
However, sensational blocking from Kennedy Osunsanmi and Tori Davis would keep West Ranch alive.
Osunsanmi led the team with 11 kills.
The Wildcats nearly closed down Valencia’s lead but bad passing would continuously gut the team. Vikings middle blocker Brooklyn Cohen would slam down an overpass to end the first set.
The Wildcats settled in early on in the second set. The offense started to gel and the team got much better swings. It was tight throughout the set with no one being able to pull away but, down 20-18, the Vikings unraveled. Some rare mistimings on top of hitting errors would cost Valencia the set in crunch time and the match was tied at 1-1.
The Vikings wanted to keep starting sets hot and showed no issues doing so. Wildcats head coach Jamey Ker would call a timeout down 8-4 to address his team’s passing but the team continued to struggle. McKell served one of her two aces coming out of the timeout and Valencia kept rolling.
“Tonight we really executed hitting the spots,” said Valencia head coach Kristin Dolan. “We hit the areas [on the serve] in order to really take them out of system. That led to a lot of offense for us when they gave us an easy one.”
Cats’ freshman setter Dani Clewis would breathe life into the team in the third set but it wouldn’t be enough. Clewis caught fire after a solo block, kill on an overpass and a sneaky dump.
On the other side of the net, setter Brooke Tynon showed aggressiveness with some quick dumps. The setter also registered a match-high six aces, including two in a row in the third to go up 17-11. Tynon finished the night with 26 assists, four kills and 10 digs.
Valencia stormed through the middle of the set and a Makena Schaumloeffel kill would end the lopsided set.
Schaumloeffel was one of four Vikings to go over six kills on the day.
“Each hitter on our team is strong,” said Tynon. “We don’t have two or three that we focus on so I think that’s a really good advantage we have. Each hitter on the court is capable of getting a kill and I can count on them every single time.”
The Wildcats had their backs up against the wall but put up their best start yet. The home team jumped out to a 9-4 lead thanks to more great blocking. Tynon kept spreading the attack around and finally got rolling. Valencia surged on a 9-3 run to take the lead and would ultimately finish the set on a 21-8 run to close the match.
Tynon came up with her fourth kill to end the game and stun the Wildcats at home.
Libero Kiera McInnes seemed to be in the right place all night and led the defense with 14 digs.
“If we’re passing well, we’re very dangerous,” said Dolan. “We have offense in all three spots.
“Continuing to work on passing to the target and taking care of that first contact is definitely one of our No. 1 missions.”
Valencia has found its stride and is 11-2 in its last 13 matches with a pair of losses coming from Saugus.
There are hardly ever mishaps where the Valencia setter doesn’t know exactly where her hitters are. The connection of Tynon and her hitters has been crucial to the team’s success on and off the court.
“Brooke’s my best friend,” said McKell. “We get along so well and our connection on the court really helps. I love her as my setter.”
West Ranch is still in good shape with its league record and will have plenty of opportunities to get some needed wins. The Cats are still yet to face Hart on the year and will have one more matchup with the Vikings at Valencia on Wednesday.
Both teams will be off until their league rematch Wednesday at Valencia.
“Everyone wants to win,” said McKell. “Everyone’s working hard and we all want it really bad.”