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Foothill League girls volleyball: ’Cats secure a playoff spot

After beating Hart, West Ranch eyes second in Foothill

Posted: October 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 26, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

In one of its most important matches of the season, the West Ranch girls volleyball team put up strong performances early and often in a 3-1 victory over Hart High at West Ranch on Tuesday.

With the 25-16, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19 win, the Wildcats secured an automatic playoff spot by clinching at least a top-three finish in the Foothill League standings.

For the Indians (8-12, 3-5), it was another “Jekyll and Hyde” performance — something that has become a regular theme this season.

Middle blocker Sam Wiese was the only consistent threat for the Indians, as she led the team with 10 kills on the night.

“To be honest, I don’t have an answer (to why we’re inconsistent),” said Hart head coach Mary Keen. “It’s a team sport, but when it comes down to it, it takes individual attitudes. It takes that mind set to give 100 percent.”

In contrast, there was no shortage of offensive weapons for the Wildcats (10-12, 6-2).

Alexis Clewis, Sarah McGough and Angelica Rutledge each tallied 11 kills to tie for the match lead, while Ellen Fowler added 19 assists.

With the exception of the third game, it was the strongest team performance the Wildcats have put together all year, according to West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks.

And now, with second place in league on the line in their match against Valencia on Thursday, the Wildcats are peaking at the right time.

“We play like we did tonight and we’ll be just fine,” Sparks said. “We’ve got the two toughest teams coming up (in Valencia and Saugus).”

The Wildcats came out strong in each of their three wins, putting together multiple scoring runs and taking advantage of numerous Hart mistakes.

“In a must-win situation we came out flat,” Keen said. “Game three was more familiar with my team. The way they’re feeling is the way they played.”

After falling behind early in each of the first two games, the Indians showed life in that third game.

Hart took an early 2-1 lead and never let up, leading by as many as eight points at 20-12.

West Ranch did its best to stage a comeback, closing the gap to 24-23 before Brittani Elser sent the ball flying off the Wildcats’ block attempt for the winning kill.

“When we give up a run really early we come back so late (that we can’t win),” Rutledge said. “That’s what happened to us (in game three).”

The Indians couldn’t keep up the momentum heading into game four, though, as once again they failed to string scoring runs together as the Wildcats took advantage of more Hart errors.

Hart’s only lead came off the first point of the game, as West Ranch opened up a 9-4 lead in the game.

Despite being down throughout, the Indians continually fought to stay in the game, pulling within two points at 19-17.

The Wildcats, though, went on a 6-2 run to close out the match on a kill by Clewis that went sailing off Hart’s block attempt.

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