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CIF girls volleyball: Errors doom young ’Cats

Too many mistakes lead to West Ranch’s exit

Posted: November 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch girls volleyball saw its season come to an end Tuesday night when it fell 25-19, 25-17 and 25-15 to Beckman High at Beckman in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division IA playoffs.

Sarah McGough led the Wildcats offensively with seven kills, while Alexis Clewis added five kills and senior Angel Rutledge tallied five kills as well.

Senior Danielle Thompson led the team with nine digs.

The loss capped an up-and-down season for the Wildcats, who finished 12-18.

“Roller coaster (year),” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks. “I am (happy), yes. We did have the toughest schedule that we ever had at West Ranch.”

Against Beckman, though, the difference came down to the Wildcats making too many mistakes, and the Patriots’ ability to avoid mistakes.

“It’s pretty hard and frustrating (when teams don’t make mistakes),” Sparks said. “I think the girls got a little frustrated out there. Against other teams we’d be getting those points, but against (Beckman) we weren’t.”

The Wildcats were able to stay close throughout the first two games of the match, pulling even at 15-15 in game one before passing errors helped aid a Patriots’ run, culminating in a 25-19 victory.

“Pretty big setback,” Sparks said. “We knew coming in we could have played a lot better than we did. It was a little disappointing in that aspect.”

Game two saw much of the same, as the two teams opened by matching each other point for point.

Just before the midway point of the game, though, Beckman (20-8) began to pull away as the West Ranch passing game began to break down for the second straight game.

While the mistakes, which Sparks attributed to mental errors rather than a talent disparity with the Patriots, may have cost the Wildcats the match Tuesday, he understands that they are just part of the process of building a strong program.

“We are a young team,” Sparks said. “I have to keep reminding myself that we don’t have many seniors on the team and have nine girls that could return. You have to remember that with youth comes inexperience and more mistakes.”

The third and final game of the match saw Beckman pull out to an early lead and never look back.

For the Wildcats’ four seniors — Rutledge, Thompson, Kelsey Sellars and Kelly Spurling — the loss means an end to their high school careers.

Despite the loss, the future looks bright for the Wildcats.

“The program’s doing really well,” Sparks said. “Our JV team took second in league. Our freshmen took first. We took third. We have a lot of young talent, so I’m hoping it’ll just keep increasing every year. It should put us on the top (of the Foothill League). It should put us as the favorites.”


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