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Foothill volleyball: Make some room

West Ranch makes it a three-way tie atop the Foothill League standings

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

West Ranch senior Carly Carapella (7) rises for the ball as Valencia's Delaney Knudsen (4) and Teresa Cernosek (88) try to defend on Thursday at Valencia High School.

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For the second time this week, two of the Foothill League’s top girls volleyball teams were pitted against each other.

On Thursday, it was West Ranch’s turn to leap into a first-place tie.

Led by a 25-kill performance by junior Alexis Clewis, West Ranch knocked off the previously league unbeaten Valencia 3-1 in front of a mostly packed gym at Valencia High School.

The Vikings won the first game 25-22 and then dropped the next three 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22.

Both teams put their best weapons on display and both had moments of brilliance to balance out the mental and physical lapses.

When it mattered most late in games though, the Wildcats (12-4 overall, 4-1 Foothill) were better.

“They were willing to let go of their mistakes regardless of the rallies that Valencia made,” said West Ranch head coach Gerrit Maxwell of his players.

Now, Valencia, West Ranch and Hart are all tied at the top with 4-1 league records.

West Ranch’s offense found its rhythm as time went on, using a combination of Clewis and fellow outside hitter Sarah McGough, who finished with 13 kills.

Clewis was lethal with her creative combination of tips and power swings down the line.

“The sets were great and the passes were great to allow me to do it,” Clewis said.

She was right.

Setter Carly Carapella, a transfer from Valencia, ran the offense smoothly and tallied 44 assists and added 10 digs against her former team.

Another senior transfer from Valencia, Serena LeDuff, also made it on the court late in the match and chipped in with some key plays, much to the chagrin of the Viking faithful in attendance.

Wildcats libero Haley Lind was impressive on defense and finished with 16 digs.

It was the type of all-around performance the Vikings (12-5, 4-1) didn’t quite put together on this night.

“We never got into a rhythm,” said Valencia head coach Ray Sanchez. “We just never got the ball rolling. It’s hard to put your finger on it.”

Delaney Knudsen was Valencia’s leader in kills and digs with 15 and 13, respectively. Sierra Sanchez had 13 kills and setter Lindsey Knudsen ended up with 23 assists.

Other than that, there wasn’t much in the way of offensive options for the home team.

“We double committed to (Delaney Knudsen and Sanchez),” Maxwell said. “If we get burned somewhere else because we double committed, that’s OK.”

Early on, Valencia appeared in control of the match after winning the first game and leading most of the way in games two and three, though never by more than a few points.

The turning point came in the second game when the Wildcats crawled back to tie the score 18-18, then cashed in on a slew of Viking mistakes.

Valencia committed five unforced errors to help West Ranch seal the deal.

The match continued to go back and forth from there, but players like Clewis and McGough made enough plays in the clutch to give West Ranch a slight edge.

These two teams will meet again at West Ranch on the final match of the league season.



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