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A familiar beating

Wildcats beat Calvary Chapel for second year in a row

Posted: November 10, 2009 10:26 p.m.
Updated: November 11, 2009 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch's Allison Summers spikes the ball during the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A playoffs at West Ranch High.

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West Ranch girls volleyball advanced to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division I-A playoffs for a second straight year with a three-set win over Calvary Chapel 28-26, 25-21, 28-26 Tuesday at West Ranch.

It was also the second time in as many seasons the Wildcats dispatched the Eagles in the first round, but it was as close as a three-game match could be.

The Wildcats (22-9) struggled early on offense, allowing Calvary Chapel to build a 9-4 lead before a West Ranch timeout.

West Ranch responded by finding a way to get the ball to outside hitters Hannah Orlandi and Allison Summers, who responded in kind by putting the Wildcats on their shoulders.

“It was one of my best hitting nights, but we had a lot of ups and downs that match,” said Orlandi, a junior. “Our defense really stepped it up tonight,” she said, adding that the team found momentum after the first win and began to play progressively better.

Orlandi had a match-high 24 kills and Summers added 18, and Wildcats head coach Nate Sparks said their most impressive efforts on the season couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

“They were incredible tonight, simple as that,” Sparks said. “They were finding holes all over the defense.”

Wildcats’ setter Tani Slauson lead the team with 54 assists, and Shelby Kunz’ defense was saving West Ranch all night as she pulled out 19 digs.

The Wildcats trailed for the first 24 points of Game 1, but then a series of long rallies, a clutch block by middle blocker Bree Braucher and then a pair of Orlandi kills stole the frame away 28-26.

“It was disappointing because we had several opportunities but just couldn’t put them away,” said Calvary Chapel head coach Paul Woo. “We were up 24-19 (in Game 1) but just couldn’t close them out. But you have to hand it to West Ranch, they played a tough match.”

Game 2 was decidedly more West Ranch as the Wildcats were able to capitalize on Eagles mistakes and take an early lead that they kept for the whole match.

Game 3, however, was another battle.

Calvary Chapel led again until the 24th point, then relinquished the lead, then took it back before an Eagles’ net error put Orlandi at the serve and the score tied 26-all.

Her teammates once again came through for Orlandi, holding her serve on a net error. Then a Braucher block gave West Ranch a trip to the next round of the playoffs.

“We showed a lot of composure out there, pulling it out in that first game and then coming out on top in Game 3,” Sparks said. “We’re peaking at the right time, playing our best volleyball right when we want to be.”

The Wildcats will face either Marymount or Ventura High School in their second-round matchup Thursday.      

 

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