West Ranch girls volleyball (5-4) defeated the hosting Canyon Cowboys (6-12) 3-1 to boost their win streak to three games.
The short-handed Wildcats won with scores of 25-12, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-12.
Middle blocker Tori Davis led the Wildcats with 14 kills and three blocks.
West Ranch was without starting setter Dani Clewis again as well as missing opposite hitter Kennedy Osunsanmi.
“Even though we’re losing a lot of players every once in a while, just being able to play games like this where we have to fight for it is what I look forward to most in the game,” said Davis.
The Wildcats’ offense didn’t run perfectly but it was run effectively, showcasing their depth is ready. Junior Natlie Krantz got the start at opposite hitter in place of Osunsanmi and registered the first kill of the game.
The Cowboys couldn’t get anything going in the first set. Their serve receive wasn’t sharp and the team didn’t get many swings at the net, leading to the Wildcats running away with the first.
Nothing looked too different early in the second set but the Canyon offense started getting more swings, including three straight kills from Leyla Tejeda.
West Ranch again pulled away, but up 19-9, chaos ensued. The Cats’ serve receive crumbled and Canyon seized the moment thanks to a handful of team aces. The Cowboys rode a 7-0 run back into the game but they weren’t done yet.
“Mentality is huge with them,” said Canyon head coach Samantha Holcombe. “When they don’t stress out, have fun and make smart choices, it goes a long way. We’re obviously not very tall so how we have success on the court is finding the open areas.”
The spark became an 11-2 Canyon lead and thanks to late kills by Tejeda, the Cowboys stole the second set.
“I think we were just trying to push points,” said Tejeda. “We all have the mentality of having fun. When we’re really silly, we get a lot of points. We know if we’re having fun we’ll get the most points.”
Tejeda finished with 13 kills and six digs.
West Ranch head coach Jamey Ker tried to settle his team back in for the third set. It took some time but the team regained their focus and momentum. The two teams went back and forth with Canyon holding a short lead for most of the set.
“It’s been an interesting season because of the amount of adversity and weird stuff that’s occurred,” said Ker. “I’m proud of my girls. They’ve done a wonderful job of bouncing back in those weird scenarios, filling in spots they wouldn’t normally fit into and still executing very well.”
Big swings by Davis and outside hitter Bridget Conley jumped the Wildcats back into the game and into the lead.
Conley finished her night with 10 kills.
Setters Abigail Hodge and Madison Sapanza again ran the West Ranch offense. The two have been a crucial part of West Ranch’s success in Clewis’ absence, with tough serving on top of setting.
“Completely new setters this year and they’re learning everything from scratch,” said Davis. “I’m really proud of them and how they’re coming up. I think they’re doing a really good job.”
An ace from Hodge would end the third set to give the Cats a 2-1 lead.
West Ranch didn’t waste time taking control over the set again and jumped early in the fourth. Canyon couldn’t find that same surge as the second, leading the Cats to another lopsided set win, closed out again by another ace from Hodge.
Holcombe believes her team can make huge strides if they keep on having fun but most importantly believe in themselves.
“Little Ol’ Canyon can go a long way,” said Holcombe. “Hitting is our biggest area of improvement and if we can find where that is we’ll be good to go.”
The Cowboys will look to improve their blocking and passing in their next match when they host Valencia on Monday. West Ranch will look to build off their win streak in their rematch with Saugus on Tuesday.