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West Ranch V-Ball starts over

Wildcats beat Frontier in season opener

Posted: September 2, 2014 9:55 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2014 9:55 p.m.

West Ranch players Katie Jacobs (2), Cassidy Peters and Annika Bergstrom celebrate on Tuesday at West Ranch High School. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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West Ranch’s new girls volleyball coach Brandon Pank came into the program having some big holes to fill.

All-Santa Clarita Valley first teamers Alexis Clewis and Haley Lind, along with second teamers Brooke Garelick and Kendall Myers, have graduated from a team that went 8-2 in Foothill League play for a second-place finish.

Pank knows there’s some rebuilding to do, but he was encouraged by what he saw in the Wildcats’ 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-19) win over Frontier High of Bakersfield on Tuesday at West Ranch.

“It’s insanely exciting to come in and get our first win of the season,” said Pank, who coached at Alemany High for two years prior to taking the job with West Ranch (1-0). “We’re building this cake right now. You have no clue what it tastes like. No clue what it looks like and then you beat a team because you’re so excited about how it came out.”

West Ranch dropped the first game 17-25 despite keeping it close throughout.

The Wildcats evened things up in the second game when they were able to hold off a late Titan rally after leading 23-19.

Frontier came within a point, 24-23, before two kills by senior Hannah Williams pushed West Ranch over.

“Our senior leadership has been outstanding,” Pank said. “They’re very vocal and competitive and make my job so much easier.”

Williams had five kills and two blocks.

West Ranch took another close game in the third, 26-24, thanks to sophomore Kaitlin Schultz who had two kills and two blocks in the set.

The Wildcats’ defense stepped up in the final game.

With the score tied at 12, West Ranch blocked four straight Titans shots and maintained the lead to the end.

The Wildcats had six blocks in the set and Schultz had three of them

“Our middle attackers are so young and so strong it’s insane,” Pank said. “Their ceilings are so high for every one of them. We literally design practices around them to make sure they can be successful.”

Last season the Wildcats lost to Frontier in the season opener 3-1.

The results may be different but Titans head coach Steven Bentley is still happy with what he saw.

“We have a couple of freshman outside hitters that got some time today so I’m happy with that,” he said. “(West Ranch) played us well. Coming on the road is tough, but I thought we played well against a tough opponent.”

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