Trinity Knights girls’ volleyball got its revenge on Friday after a sweep of the hosting Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals.
Trinity won the match in straight sets, 25-20, 25-22, 25-14, after dropping the teams’ first matchup in four sets.
The Knights (11-4, 9-1) displayed a better focus and mental stamina in this go-around with their crosstown rivals, something head coach Rebecca Peluffo was hoping to see from her team.
“I think this time around, the girls brought a mental toughness and focus,” Peluffo said in a phone interview. “They were zoned in on every ball and weren’t shaken by anything. They moved on from mistakes and executed the way we needed to execute. They played with such heart, and did the jobs they needed to do.”
The Knights came up with big plays when they needed them most and pulled out of tight battles in the first two games. However, in the third set, Trinity’s serving prowess took control of the match.
Trinity continued to serve hard, relentlessly hitting its spots and forcing the Cardinals (11-4-1, 8-1) to make tough plays before senior Sarah Dever ended the night with a kill.
Controlling the first ball was a crucial focus for the Knights and Peluffo was pleased with her team’s execution.
“I think overall, we had been talking about controlling the first ball to have all off options available and we did phenomenal,” Peluffo said. “Our hitters went and executed beautifully.”
The loss ended the Cards’ undefeated Heritage League campaign but the league crown still remains up for grabs. Each team just holds one league loss on the season and will try to hold off the other, as well as a lingering Faith Baptist team, in hopes of a league crown.
The Knights have found their rhythm at the perfect time and will continue battling for a shot at their first Heritage League championship since 2019.
“The girls are clicking, really coming together and executing the little things right now,” Peluffo said. “It’s been a total mind shift and they have taken control of the controllable and done a good job of settling the game down on our side, so it just has felt calm and confident.”
Peluffo commended her whole lineup, stating every player has stepped up immensely and grown in their role.
“Everyone needed to step up and do their jobs well,” Peluffo said. “Our outsides have stepped up offensively and defensively, they’ve grown so much as hitters. Our setter is getting the ball where it needs to be so we can attack. Our defensive specialist and libero have found good rhythm. They are confident and comfortable together.”
Sophomore setter Scarlett Malkasyan has led the team’s heavy-hitting offense, led by middle blocker Jordan Hahn.
Hahn led the offense on Friday with eight kills and also added four blocks. Malkasyan finished the match with 23 assists and four aces.
Trinity returns to league action on Thursday, when the team heads to Lancaster to take on the Desert Christian Knights. SCCS will look to bounce back on Thursday, when the team also heads up north to face the Lancaster Baptist Eagles. Both matches are slated for 5:30 p.m.
“We need to continue to execute the little things to keep a calm mental focus so that when we get to the postseason, we have a good ball-by-ball mentality,” Peluffo said.