Taft opens league play Tuesday

It had been nine days since the Taft varsity volleyball last played a match and it was only a couple more days before they kicked off the South Sequoia League season. The Lady Wildcats bridged the gap this past weekend when they finished second in the California City Tournament.

Taft got off to strong start in their first match by defeating Rosamond 25-11, 25-15.

“This was a great starter match for us to get ready for Desert Christian,” said Taft coach Adeana McDaniel Furman.

Caitlyn Emberson and Cassidy Cloud each led in aces with 2 while Cloud led in kills with 5. Johanna Wilke followed with 3 while Halle Neher chipped in with 2.

Emily Salazar had 11 assists. Nher led in digs with 6 while Salazar had 5. Emberson had 3.

The Lady Wildcats kept their run going with a 25-12, 25-20 victory over Desert Christian.

“We came out strong hitting wise this match,” said Furman. “Both Johanna and Cassidy were on from the hitting line which was a tremendous help in our win.”

Wilke led in aces with 3 with Cloud having 2. Wilke and Cloud each led in kills with 5 while Brook Riley and Emberson each had 3. Savannah Gregory and Emberson each had a block. Neher led in digs with 14 while Wilke had 10. Cloud had 6.

Taft’s first loss of the tournament came in the Lady Wildcats final match of pool play with a 25-20, 25-18 loss to Bishop.

“We knew from watching Bishop in previous matches that it was going to be a tough game against them,” said Furman. “We couldn’t match match up with Bishop hitting wise and they got the best of us.”

Cloud led in kills with 7 while Salazar had 10 assists. Wilke led in digs with 16 while Neher had 7. Wilke had 2 aces.

With the pool play record, Taft was sixth overall in the gold bracket.

Taft bounced back the next day by getting a bit of revenge by defeating Frazier Mountain 26-24, 25-16.

“We were looking to get a little revenge on the Falcons after losing to them the prior week in a non conference game,” said Furman.

Taft fell behind 24-20 in the first set before Wilke served six consecutive points to give Taft the win.

Emberson led in kills with 8 while Wilke had 4 and Cloud had 3. Salazar had 17 assists while Emberson had 2 blocks. Neher led in digs with 21 while Wilke had 8.

The Lady Wildcats bounced back in their next match with a 25-21, 25-19 victory over Palmdale.  

Salazar led in points with 18 and aces with 7.

“Emily Salazar came out on fire from the serving line and Palmdale had no answer for her,” said Furman.

Emberson and Wilke each had 3 kills to lead the team while Bethany Fitzsimmons had 2. Neher led in digs with 13.

Taft was looking to get even with Bishop in their final match, but Bishop swept the Lady Wildcats with a 15-17, 25-20 win.

“The girls played a terrific game against a very good hitting team,” said Furman. “We just didn’t have the hitting power Bishop did and they got the best of us again. But we were happy with the game we made it out of.”

Emberson led in kills with 6 while Wilke and Salazar each had 3.

Neher led in digs with 9 while Cloud had 7. Wilke chipped in with 5.

Taft kicks off league play Tuesday when they host Shafter. The match begins at 6:15 p.m.