Taft defeats Mira Monte in three sets

The Taft varsity volleyball team found the perfect way to close out the non-league schedule Tuesday night with a 25-17, 25-18 and 25-21 victory over the Mira Monte Lions in Bakersfield.

“I was very impressed with our level of play against Mira Monte,” said Taft coach Adeana McDaniel Furman. “We played tough defense and served the ball really well. This was a great confidence builder for us going into league next week.”

With the victory, Taft heads into the league schedule with an overall record of 8-7.

Taft had a battle on their hands early in the first match as they tied Mira Monte four times. The Lady Lions broke the last tie with two unanswered points to lead 6-4.

Mira Monte maintained a small lead before Taft went on a 4-0 run to overtake the lead at 10-9.

Mira Monte knotted the score at 10, but Taft went on another 4-0 run to regain the advantage.

The teams went on to tie three more times before the Lady Wildcats went on an 8-0 run thanks in part to Haley Walrath’s tip to win the set.

Momentum switched sides early in the second set when the Lady Lions jumped out to a 3-1 lead.

Taft bounced back to tie the score at four and again at five, then followed up with a 7-0 run to lead 12-5.

Mira Monte chipped away at the lead to cut it to five at two different times, but Taft responded with a 9-3 run to lead 22-11.

The Lady Lions made one last attempt to get back into the game with a 7-0 run to trail by four, but Taft scored the final three points to go up two sets to none.

Taft carried that strong performance into the early stages of the third set with an 8-2 run thanks in part to Suzie Arnold’s ace. After Mira Monte cut the Taft lead in half, the Lady Wildcats increased it to 10-5.

Mira Monte continued the back and forth exchange with a 3-0 run to trail 10-8.

Taft held the lead until late in the third set when Mira Monte went on a brief run to even the score at 19 before taking a one point lead.

Taft quickly tied the score at 20 before the teams tied again at 21.

The ’Cats answered with a 4-0 run to win the set and match.

Clarissa Rivas led Taft in blocks with 3 while Suzie Arnold and Mikaela Davis each had 2.

Chelsea Dickard led Taft in digs with 15 while Haley Walrath had 14. Jessica Neher had 9 while Tara Kelley and Rivas each had 7.

Walrath led the Lady Wildcats in kills with 4 while Rivas had 3.

Taft kicks off league play Tuesday when they travel to Tehachapi. The match begins at 6:15 p.m