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West Ranch volleyball: Tip of the iceberg

Promising West Ranch team has no problem with Buena

Posted: September 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.

West Ranch's Alexis Clewis scores a kill against Buena on Tuesday afternoon at West Ranch High School.

In just its second regular season match of the season, West Ranch girls volleyball wasn’t exactly perfect.

Even an imperfect West Ranch made it look easy in a 3-0 win over Buena of Ventura on Tuesday at West Ranch High School.

That might be the more telling fact of the talented 2012 Wildcats, who won by scores of 25-21, 25-13 and 25-22 against a team that swept them last year.

“Oh yeah. This is our year,” said West Ranch junior Alexis Clewis. “This is it. I’m excited.”

Clewis and fellow outside hitter Sarah Mcgough provided a powerful one-two punch offensively for the Wildcats (2-0).

Mcgough, a returning senior All-Foothill League first teamer, led the team with 13 kills, and Clewis followed with 11.

Overall though, West Ranch mixed it up nicely between all of its hitters and middle blockers, which kept Buena (4-2) off balance from the get go.

First-year West Ranch head coach Gerrit Maxwell sees the potential in his team, but not quite the ideal level of execution.

“We’re not playing that smoothly right now,” said Maxwell, who took over for former head coach Nate Sparks this season. “We have fits and starts ... At times, they play flawless.”

Both teams started shaky in the first game, though West Ranch held a small lead most of the way.

The Bulldogs responded by scoring five straight points to take a 16-15 lead, but the Wildcats used a combination of strong net play, solid defense and balanced offense to put away the opening game despite six service errors.

In the second game, West Ranch was at its best, mixing sets nicely between the outside and the middle.

Senior setter Carly Carapella, a transfer from Valencia High, tallied 32 assists.

She set the ball to Clewis, Mcgough and West Ranch’s newest weapon on the outside, senior Serena LeDuff, another Valencia transfer.

“I think our hitters have matured,” Clewis said. “We have really good setters. The ball is just there every time. We have really good blocking. ... We are pretty well rounded.”

Buena’s best stretch of play came in the third game when it raced out to a 13-4 lead after upping the tempo of the match.

West Ranch calmly and collectively answered back, at one point scoring seven points in a row to turn a 21-16 deficit into a 23-21 lead.

Buena made one too many mistakes down the stretch.

The Bulldogs were led by Hailie Mace’s eight kills.



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