Sarah Lopez Wildcats with 12 kills
The Taft High Varsity Volleyball team faced the Mira Monte Lions on Tuesday evening in the Mullen Gym. Coming off of their first place finish at the South High Tournament, the Cats looked to keep that momentum and they swept the Lions 3-0.
Taft won the first game by a score of 25-13. Mira Monte scored the first two points but Taft settled in after that and took over the game. Senior Sarah Lopez had some vicious kills in the game and she is going to be a serious force for other teams to contend with as the season progresses. Taft's movement and communication were good during the game and some minor mistakes cost them some points, otherwise the score would have been really lopsided.
The Ladycats took the second game by a score of 25-15. The team had some good serving to help them to this win. Even though the Lions managed to put some points on the board, the Wildcats were never in any danger of losing this game. Taft showed their dominance during the game and seemed to be able to score at will.
The student section in the stands for the Wildcats did their part to cheer the girls on. They were yelling and stomping to show their school pride. There was definitely no doubt whose gym it was that night. The Lions other volleyball teams tried to answer back, but Taft High's student body came back stronger every time to show their support for the team.
Taft also took the third set by a score of 25-15. The score doesn't tell the whole story for this game. Taft struck first and Mira Monte tied it back up and then big hitter Sarah Lopez gave her team a comfortable lead as she went on a rampage serving up ace after ace. Once the Lions stopped that run, it seemed all the momentum swung their way. Mira Monte went on a 12 point run and Taft looked like they might drop this set. Coach Adeana Furman called a timeout and calmed her girls down. After a few long rallies, Sarah Lopez was finally able to score a point for Taft. That's all the spark the girls needed as they battled back and put the game away to get the clean sweep over Mira Monte.
When asked about the third set scare, Coach Furman commented, “We are still refining our lineup. Sometimes they work better than others. It's just nice to see the girls can work themselves out of a tough situation, no matter what lineup we have on the floor. These girls are extremely talented and hard working. It is a joy to be with them.”
“I felt the game went as expected, we handled Mira Monte well the first two sets and struggled a little in the third. The third set is always the toughest to win. I was just glad to see my team finish strong in the third set,” Coach Furman said regarding the overall game.
Here are some stats from the game. Sarah Lopez led the team in kills with 12, Cherise Strong had four, Brooklyn Yaws had three. Lopez also led the team in aces with 12 and Hunter Everson had six. Once again Chaydin Garcia led the team in assists with 16 while Everson had 10.
The JV Volleyball team fell to the Lions in two sets. The first set was close, but the final score was 29-27. The score of the second set was 25-15. The girls were getting the ball over the net, however they lacked the aggression needed to really challenge Mira Monte.
Coach Jordyn Grissom commented, “They are young and I feel that they didn't want to make a lot of mistakes so they played it safe. They have improved a lot since the tournament.” Communication seemed to be another issue on the court for the girls. There were some times when two players were going for the same ball and got in each other’s way or there was miscommunication as to who was going to go for a ball. This is also something that Coach Grissom was asked about. She answered, “Communication comes as they grow into players. We definitely have been working on attacking the ball and our communication. It's a new team and they are still getting used to playing together. Overall I was pleased, we have a lot of work to do still, but I am seeing them grow as young athletes, even since last weekend.”
Two players who stood out for the team were Bree Johansen, who finished the game with two aces and five kills and Brooke Ashmore who had one ace and four kills. Look for Coach Grissom's team to come on strong as the season moves forward.