With a 1-1 record in the league, the varsity volleyball players went into their Sept. 7 game looking for a win – and they got one.
The girls left with a 3-0 win against Valley Christian Academy, their “biggest rival,” according to senior Tori Van Vleck.
But the win didn’t come easily.
The girls started the set out strong, but the Valley Christian Lions fought back, bringing the game to a 3-3 tie.
But the girls picked up their momentum and went on to score 15 points to the Lions’ 3.
As the Cavs scored point after point, the audience cheered louder and louder. With a quick, point-saving dig from junior Naomi Turnbull, the crowd exploded.
The Cavs kept the pressure on the Lions as they neared the end of the first set.
But the Valley Christian girls didn’t let the Cavs off easy; they shortened the Cavs’ lead to 10 points before the Cavs could clinch their first set victory, 25-15.
“It felt really good to win the first set, but I have to acknowledge that (Valley Christian) lost a ton of seniors last year who were usually starters,” senior Bella Mathisen said. “It didn’t really feel like the same team.”
After a quick congratulatory huddle, the second set was underway, following the same trends as the first, with a 5-5 tie early on.
The Cavs were able to momentarily break away from the Lions, but their lead quickly diminished, bringing the set once more a tie, 14-14.
And for only the second time in the game, Valley Christian started to lead.
“My famous thing is that volleyball is like a wave,” coach Jason Kreps said. “It’s about how you can fight back from being down.”
And the Cavs did fight back. After a series of alternating points, the girls were able to establish a seven-point lead, bringing the game to 24-17.
“Bring it home!” senior Blake Lincoln shouted as the team secured the win for the set.
But as the Cavs moved on to the third set, their prior wins led to a rough start.
“I think we got a little too relaxed,” junior Alyssa Valverde said. “The other team was pushing to step up their game, which made a little bit more of a challenge for us.”
For the first time in the game, the Lions established a lasting lead, beating the Cavs by six points.
“We definitely let up in the third set,” Van Vleck said. “We let go of the intensity we started with.”
But the Cavs were able to fight through and turn the tides, taking the lead back, 16-15.
With newfound motivation, the girls scored eight more points, bringing them to match point.
Hitting the ball out, the Lions give the Cavs the last point they need to win the final set, 25-17.
“As a team, we really played together,” Kreps said. “This is probably some of the best volleyball we’ve played all season.
“(Valley Christian) lost a lot of key players last year, but they’re still a really strong team. We had some really competitive play.”
The girls’ next game is on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 6:30 p.m. against Buckingham Charter School at Vaca Pena Middle School.
—By Mehdi Lacombe