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Prep volleyball: ’Cats closed out

West Ranch ousted in tough battle on the road

Posted: November 9, 2010 10:25 p.m.
Updated: November 10, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Coming into the 2010 season, West Ranch head girls volleyball coach Nate Sparks knew his team was young.

But he didn’t see any reason to expect anything less than a team worthy of a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

The Wildcats proved they were worthy, but fell just a few points short of advancing in Tuesday night’s opening-round playoff match against San Luis Obispo 3-2 at San Luis Obispo High School.

“We had our ups, we had our downs,” Sparks said. “The girls played tough all season, so I can’t complain.”

West Ranch lost scores of 25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25 and 9-15, but the team has four sophomores and two juniors returning next year.

Outside hitter Bree Braucher led the Wildcats with 17 kills and six blocks, and middle blocker Angel Rutledge had 11 kills and six blocks of her own.

West Ranch (17-15) went up 2-1 early by making plays late in each of the games.

The Wildcats had to rally from a 15-9 deficit to win the first game and won a neck-and-neck contest in the third game.

It looked like the Tigers (25-6) were going to easily force a fifth and deciding game when they went up 24-18, but the Wildcats again put together a big scoring run and got within one point at 24-23.

But a service error, one of West Ranch’s nine in the match, cost them the fourth game.

Those errors continued into game five, and San Luis closed it out to move on to the second round and send the Wildcats home.

“You could say disappointment,” Sparks said of the players' reaction to the match. “But if we played our hearts out, there’s no reason to get down on ourselves.”

Outside hitter Sarah McGough had 11 kills and libero Shelby Kunz had a team-leading 34 digs.

“We were happy about it, but we knew going into it, it was going to be tough,” Sparks said. “All the games before that were within a few points.”

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