Taft goes 4-1 against teams from Mammoth, Desert, Desert Christian, Palmdale and California City

Except for one match, the non-league schedule for the Taft varsity volleyball has been made up of nothing but tournaments. The Lady Wildcats successfully wrapped up their tournament run last Friday and Saturday by placing third at California City Tournament.

With the tournament record, Taft heads into league play with an overall record of 13-4.

Taft got off to strong start to the tournament Friday with a 25-10, 25-14 victory over Mammoth in the first match of pool play.  

“I was a little worried about how we would play after such a long bus ride but the girls played well,” said Taft coach Adeana McDaniel Furman.

Jana Gaehl led in points with 14 while Kendall Casteel had 10. Ashley Ramos led in kills with 6 while Suzie Arnold had 5. Kennedy Kunce chipped in with 4. Casteel had 13 assists while Gaehl had two blocks.

Taft breezed through the first set of their second pool play match 25-11 before edging out host California City 25-21.

“We played great defense in the first match and then had a little bit of a let up in the second but we got the job done,” said Furman.

Mikaela Davis and Gaehl each led the Lady Wildcats in kills with 7. Casteel led in points with 12 while Gaehl had 5.

Casteel led in assists with 12 and aces with 2. Halle Neher led in digs with 12 while Suzie Arnold and Megan Clark each had 6.

Taft wrapped up pool play with a 25-12, 25-14 victory over Desert Christian.

“The girls got in there and took care of business,” said Furman.

Gaehl led in points with 11, aces with 5 and kills with 5. Davis followed in points with 9. Neher followed in points with 6 and aces 2 while Casteel also had two aces. Casteel had 9 assists while Clark had 7.

Davis led in digs with 9 while Clark had 5. Ramos led in blocks with 2.

Taft, the No.2 seed, carried their performance into bracket play with a 25-10, 25-13 victory over Kern Valley.

“It took us about halfway through the first match to get things going but once we did things just fell into place,” said Furman.

Clark led in points with 11 while Casteel had 9. Casteel led in assist with 5 while Tara Kelley and Clark each had 4. Arnold led in digs with 9 while Neher had 7. Ramos and Kunce each had 2 blocks.

Taft ran into a roadblock in the semi final round with a 25-8, 22-25, 11-15 loss to Desert.

“We came out strong in the first match,” said Furman. “In the second match Desert gained their footing and barely squeaked out a win past us. In the final match, Desert had all of the momentum and we just couldn’t get things to click.”

Gahel led in points with 12 while Clark had 8. Davis chipped in with 7. Gahel also led in aces with 3 and kills with 7. Kunce and Arnold each followed in kills with 4. Neher led in digs with 16 while Davis had 14. Clark and Casteel each had 10.

Taft bounced back in the third place game with a 20-25, 27-25, 22-20 victory over Palmdale.

Kayla Spoonemore and Gaehl each led in points with 9. Gahel also led in aces with 5 and kills with 14 while Spoonemore had 2 aces. Clark led in assists with 12 while Neher led in digs with 19.

Taft kicks off league play Tuesday with a home match against Wasco. The match begins at 6:15 p.m.