Taft defeats Paramount Bard Academy and Arvin while losing to Highland and Ridgeview

One great thing about competing in pre season tournaments is that it gives a team a chance to work on their game. The Taft varsity volleyball team got that opportunity last Friday and Saturday when they went 2-2 at the Ridgeview Tournament in Bakersfield.

With the record, the Lady Wildcats are currently 8-3 on the young season.

The tournament run did not get off to great start for Taft when they lost to Ridgeview 25-12, 25-20.

"We struggled the entire game to get into rhythm," said Taft coach Adeana McDaniel Furman. "This is our first game of the day and I just don't think we were mentally ready."

Mikaela Davis led the charge in the kills category with 4. Ashley Ramos had 3 while Suzie Arnold and Kennedy Kunce each had 2. Kendall Casteel had 10 assists while Davis led in digs with 8. Casteel followed with 4. Jana Gaehl, Ramos and Kunce each had 2 blocks.

Taft bounced back in their second game of pool play by defeating league rival Arvin 25-21, 23-25 and 15-11.

"We had some ups and downs offensively but the girls pulled out a tough win against a very scrappy Arvin team," said Furman.

Arnold had 11 points, six kills and nine digs while Gaehl had nine kills, five points a block and a dig. Davis had 11 digs and five blocks. Tara Kelley had 15 digs while Ramos had five kills. Casteel had 24 assists.

The Lady Wildcats wrapped up pool play with a 25-17, 25-3 victory over Paramount Bard Academy of Delano.

"Paramount is a new program with some great qualities but they have a ways to go," said Furman. "It was a nice way to finish the evening with everyone getting plenty of playing time."

Gaehl had eight kills, nine points, three digs, a block and four aces. Ramos had three kills while Arnold and Kunce each had 2 kills. Casteel had 17 points, 11 assists while Davis had nine points, five assists, a kill and three digs.

Following the pool play, Taft was seeded fourth in bracket play. However, Taft's up and down ride through tournament play came to end in the first game of bracket play with a 25-18, 19-25 and 8-15 loss to Highland.

"We started the first game tough," said Furman. "Our defense was clicking and we served tough. Then Highland built up some momentum going into the second game and we never regained our composure. We struggled on defense and from the serving line both the second and third games."

Arnold had 4 kills and eight digs while Halle Neher had 13 digs. Davis led in digs with 15 and had four kills. Meghan Clark had six digs, eight assists, seven points and an ace. Ramos had two blocks and three kills.

Taft's game against Highland Tuesday was cancelled. The Wildcats will play in their final regular season tournament this Friday and Saturday at the California City Tournament.