Hart Indians girls’ volleyball was all business on Monday night at West Ranch. The Indians needed a win to split the season series and force a tie for first in the Foothill League, and did they ever deliver.
Hart swept the hosting Wildcats, 28-26, 25-13, 25-15, snapping West Ranch’s 14-match win streak.
The Indians were led by senior Madison Maxwell with a near triple double of 19 kills, 18 digs and nine aces with no service aces.
After a tight first set, Hart carved up the Wildcats through the final two sets, securing the sweep. Hart head coach Mary Irilian saw her team squeak by in the first set but her team’s mental fortitude stayed rock-solid.
“It didn’t seem to waver the girls at all,” Irilian said in a phone interview. “There was a calmness over them. They were so sure they were gonna win. When it’s close, I can tell they get tight or tense but they didn’t have that feeling. The chemistry was different. It was nice to see a sense of composure that never wavered.”
West Ranch went tip-heavy on offense, but the Indians were quick to dig everything in play.
“Everyone did their job and was so focused,” Irilian said. “It was amazing across the board.”
Hart setter Morgan Dumlao finished with seven kills on top of her 21 assists, pushing her to 694 assists on the season, making Dumlao the new single-season assist leader in program history.
Irilian thought her setter was a little timid with dumping the ball earlier in her career but has come into her own with a smooth attack.
“(Dumlao) was always afraid to do it and she never did it,” Irilian said. “Now we’re finally kind of seeing her take control of the offense. It’s not a one-man show, she’s equalized the playing field and has made it difficult on defenses.”
Maxwell also adjusted for the win. The Long Beach commit can play all over the court but usually sets up shop at outside hitter. Maxwell started at opposite hitter, where she continued to thrive and boast a few single-seasons records of her own. The senior now has 409 kills and 76 aces on the season, putting her atop yet another category in the Hart record books.
Indians senior Alexis Holloway has also made a dent in the school record books, and finished the night with 22 digs and 12 assists.
Hart fell victim to the Wildcats in four sets when the two teams first met earlier this season. Irilian felt her team served much better on top of having a strong mentality and energy.
Slowing down UCLA commit Kennedy Osunsanmi was a big focus for Iriilian. Osunsanmi has powered the Wildcats to victory time and time again, but Hart got under the big opposite hitter’s spikes and limited her to 17 kills on 47 swings.
Cats sophomore setter Dani Clewis finished the match with 26 assists and four blocks.
West Ranch and Hart are one win away from a co-league championship. Should both teams win or both lose, it would be the second shared Foothill League title between the two illustrious programs in four years.
Both teams need a win to secure at least a share of the Foothill League title. The two teams return to action on Thursday, when Hart heads home to face Canyon and West Ranch hosts Golden Valley.
Both games are slated for 5:30 p.m.