By Gigi Hume
Thus far, Varsity Girls Volleyball has been kicking a** and taking names in their 2017 season with a now 11-5 record after yesterday’s 3-0 win against the Valencia Tigers.
Before the Varsity showdown, Frosh/Soph set a positive precedent with a 2-1 win, losing their first set 24-26, but making a strong comeback with a close 25-22 win in the second set and a definitive 15-9 win in the third.
Hoping to make a sweep, Varsity brought their A-game and what better way to demonstrate that than with some aces? Senior co-captains Citlalli Vergara (#15) and Erin Clement (#11) as well as senior outside hitter Kuirae “Get ‘Er Done” Dunn (#2) all aced the art of the ace with powerful yet precise serves that were so low to the floor that the Tigers continually struggled to defend against them—making the score 12-7 by the first time-out. Piggybacking off of this strong start, quick-reflexed sophomore right side hitter Alex Cox (#12) and senior center Erin Clement (#11) played strong defense against strong serves from Valencia’s #22 and #8 with bumps that perfectly set up of their teammates for their next moves. One such player, senior setter Alexis Gonzalez (#16), did just this by creating a smooth transition with her trampoline-like sets for those like sophomore outside hitter Ava “Skyline” McInnes (#13) and senior middle blocker McKenna Lopez (#3) to make earth-shaking kills with their spikes of Herculean strength. Combined with the brick wall-like blocks of sophomore middle blocker Sophie Palmer (#7) and senior right side hitter Avery Cutwright (#8), the Tigers fell short to our Tiller tenacity which led us to a quick 25-22 win in the first set.
Just when you thought they couldn’t get better, they damn sure did. Citlalli Vergara (#15) again proved she had the serve that could not be stopped during her time as a server as the score was 6-0 by the first time-out. Shortly after, Kuirae Dunn (#2) followed suit with a few stellar aces of her own—enough to make her teammates do the signature “Stomp, Stomp, and ‘Whoosh!’” cheer that they’ve got down to a science. The 5’11” star of the show “Skyline” (#13) again showcased both her “hops” and her (literally) killer spikes—which can I say, I do not envy that ball. Ow. Also in the spotlight was the defensive dynamic duo—freshman outside hitter Jade Croopnick (#4) and senior middle blocker McKenna Lopez (#3) executed in-sync that visibly shook the Tigers to their cores. In response, the Tigers brought out the big guns, or rather the tall guns, with #39 who proved to be a challenge to our Tillers with some admittedly challenging-to-defend serves. Luckily, Erin Clement (#11) was able to defend against a few and kept the score at a cool 18-8. Just to put themselves over the top, Jade Croopnick (#7), our own senior middle blocker Tori De La Vega (#10), and sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Tang (#1) all completed beautiful spikes—Alyssa doing so within the first few seconds of being subbed in. One ace by Lopez (#3) and a few bumps from Kuirae Dunn (#2) and freshman libero Malia Acosta (#27) later, and the final score of the second set was a whopping 25-14.
With some confidence undoubtedly a-brewing, the Tillers continued to more of the same, the same excellence I mean. While they did struggle at first with kills and bumps that were on the weaker side, it didn’t last long— just two minutes long. Citlalli (#15) again set the tone of the set with her characteristic strong serve which led to a sort of domino effect. Tori (#10) engineered both some forceful spikes along with some light taps over the net—both of which were done under the perfect circumstances. Ava (#13), McKenna (#3), Citlalli (#15), and Jade (#4) all made some head-turning spikes just as Valencia’s #4 did which ultimately brought the score to a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat-in-the-making 18-20 by the second time-out. Just to add to the suspense, in the set’s final moments Ava (#13) made a daring, Hail Mary dig which McKenna (#3) both effortlessly and even a little unexpectedly tipped over which both made the crowd go wild and brought the score to 21-20. Finally, all eyes were on Alexis Gonzalez (#16) once more, but this time for her serves. Cool under pressure, she propelled three back-to-back aces into the Tigers’ side and thus solidified both their well-deserved dub and a program sweep. Click here to see the game-winning serve.
With now 11 wins under their belts, we can’t help but wonder if there are some CIF playoff games in the near future. But we know with this group’s ability to work together as a cohesive unit and constant shows of support, nothing is impossible—we’ll just have to wait and see.
Varsity Girls Volleyball’s next home game is Thursday, October 5 against the Cypress Centurions in the Sports Pavilion at 5:00 P.M. Come out and support!