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’Cats claw back against Indians

Wildcats’ epic win gives them No. 2 spot in the Foothill for CIF playoffs

Posted: November 5, 2009 10:38 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.
It's possible the turning point of West Ranch girls volleyball's season came in its regular-season finale.

After dropping the match's first two games, the Wildcats battled back to take a 3-2 nailbiter over Hart on Thursday at West Ranch High School, and in the process, claimed a share of second place and the No. 2 seed for the CIF-Southern Section playoffs coming out of the Foothill League.

After dropping the first two games 27-25, 25-17, the Wildcats (21-9, 7-3) rattled off three straight, 25-18, 25-23, 16-14.

West Ranch senior outside hitter Allison Summers finished with 20 kills and 16 digs, and facing a 2-0 deficit in games, she said her team found the element that had been missing for much of league play.

"I think forming as a team and being together and wanting to win for each other, not just for ourselves," Summers said. "We knew that a win together would be better than a loss by doing our best (individually)."

Hart dropped to 12-4 overall and 7-3 in league, but beat West Ranch 3-2 on Oct. 20.

However, according to Wildcats head coach Nate Sparks, a win like Thursday's might be exactly what his team needed heading into the postseason.

"It's going to help us out a lot because first off, as you saw two and a half, three weeks ago, we weren't able to battle back when we were down two games to none," he said. "We battled back the last time, but we lost in game five. This time, they kept their composure. They showed a lot more maturity as a team, as a whole."

Hannah Orlandi finished with 19 kills for West Ranch, while teammate Bree Braucher had 14 kills, Courtney Cessna had 10 kills, Shelby Kunz finished with 30 digs and Tani Slauson racked up 62 assists.

Hart's Breena Beckett led her team with 14 kills, eight blocks and three aces, Anne Baker had eight kills, Anissa Robinson had six kills and five blocks, Allison Toledo had 27 digs and Casey David finished with 19 assists and 17 digs.

The combination of Beckett, Robinson, Baker and Jennie Long neutralized West Ranch at the net through the first two games, but the Indians could not capitalize.

"That's usually our worst nightmare, is being up 2-0," said Hart head coach Mary Krisan. "With our team, we tend to, I wouldn't say be lazy or complacent, but we tend to play down if we are up two games. ... We allow teams to build energy and momentum. We don't capitalize on that third game."

Then everything began to click for West Ranch as their play up front finally began to break through the Indians' stingy defense.

Now, both teams must turn their attention to the postseason.

According to the Foothill League bylaws, the first tie-breaker for determining seeding is head-to-head record.

Since the teams split, they move to head-to-head games won.

Both took five games.

Therefore, the seeding is based on point system based on each team's final placement in league, starting with six points for Valencia taking first place, and subtracting one point for each subsequent program.

The corresponding values for each of West Ranch's and Hart's league victories are then added together.

The Wildcats finished with 20 points, whereas Hart had 17.


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