Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Regents Eek Out Another Road Victory

Hacienda Heights--  The gym was hot.  The crowd was hostile.  The opposing coach was distracting.  The match was long.  But the Regents had just enough composure to pull out another difficult road win.  St. Lucy's took last night's match 25-16, 25-21, 25-27, 23-25, 17-15.
Set one got underway with a couple nice swings fired by outside hitter Syd Bast.  The Regents jumped out to a five point lead on good defense and smart hitting before Los Altos began to heat up and chip the lead away.  Rachael Cavanaugh stepped up and served two consecutive aces to stamp out the threat, and the Regents were in stride.  Los Altos called timeout trailing 10-18, and saw the lead extend to 22-12 before mounting another attack.  The Regents made a few defensive errors, giving the Conquerors new life and hope and causing Douglas to take a time out at 22-16.  Coming out of the timeout, Bast tooled the block, Natalie Caro served an ace and Loryn Carter blocked the Los Al attempt to end the LA run, and the game.  Regents 25, Conquerors 16.

Los Altos came out stronger in set two and took the early lead.  The Regents caught up at 7 and pushed ahead to a 10-7 lead before Los Altos found it's middles and sparked a come back.  The game was tied at 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14, before Sarah Bruchet created a little space with back to back aces.  Los Altos middle hitter, number 15, kept finding the hole and kept the Conquerors within striking distance, until Juliet McClure's poke over on two and effective Regent serving took over.  Los Altos took a time out at 17-23, and then took the next four points before siding out.  The Regents did not let the serve go after that and pushed to a 25-21 end to set two.

Set three was feast and famine for the Regents.  Los Altos went to a tricky short serving game that forced St. Lucy's out of system.  Despite some nice kills by Roni LaPierre, the Regents trailed for most of the game.  Loryn Carter logged a big block to tie the game at 15, but the Conquerors went into their bag of tricks and pulled out more short serves, roll shots, and tips to extend their lead to 20-16.  St. Lucy's took a minute to talk things over, and came out of the time out more focused.  The Regents started their late set run, sending Los Altos to their corner to talk at 21-23, and 22-23, in an effort to trip up server Juliet McClure.  With the game tied at 23, McClure's serve went into the net.  Loryn Carter's shot off of the block tied the set at 24 and gave the Regents the ball and a chance to end the match.  It was LaPierre's turn to serve into the net.  Loryn got the ball back for the Regents again, this time with a touch tip off of the block, and the Regents were serving tied at 25.  Los Al got the ball to it's middle, who found the floor with ease.  St. Lucy's attempt to tie it up at 26 sailed wide, and the Conquerors took the set 27-25.

Set four started out sloppy for both teams:  two Regent errors, followed by a Los Al overpass that LaPierre put away. The teams eased into the set after that, keeping it close or tied before Bast went on a nice serving run to put the Regents up 13-9.  The Conquerors were unrelenting, however, and fought their way back into the set.  St. Lucy's timeout at 18-16 was not enough to stop the momentum and Los Altos tied it at 19.  Loryn Carter's cross court kill gave the Regents the edge.  The Los Altos middle hitter took it right back with a sharp shot to the back corner and her teammate consolidated the lead with an ace serve.  Los Altos' hitter's attempt did not clear the tape, but the coach nonetheless took the opportunity to interrupt the game (for the second time) to dispute the call.  The delay was followed by a Los Al timeout before the game resumed.  St. Lucy's miscommunication on a second ball pass gave the Conquerers the ball and the lead at 23-21.  The Los Al serve went long and Alina Mota was given the tough task of coming in cold to serve 22-23.  Her serve nicked the antenna and Los Al was serving for the set, up 24-22.  Roni LaPierre answered with a kill to regain the ball, but the Los Al middle responded with her own kill, giving the Conquerors set 4, 25-23.

Set five put the Regents to the test.  Los Al had all of the momentum and the home court advantage.  Roni LaPierre got the Regents off to a strong start with back to back kills, but the serving errors kept mounting.  St. Lucy's seemed frazzled and dropped behind 4-6, before clawing back into it.  Los Al took a timeout trailing 7-8, and it worked.  Bast's serve coming out of the timeout sailed long and the set was tied at 8, and at 9, and at 10.  Los Alto's grabbed the lead on another kill from the middle and extended the lead to 13-10 when Carter's swing did not clear the tape.  Douglas called time out, and it worked!  Los Al served the ball long; Carter put the next set down, and tipped the next to tie it at 13.  Los Al set the middle for another automatic kill to the deep corner.  LaPierre followed with her own deep corner shot to tie it at 14.  Los Al blocked the next attempt to go up 15-14.  Bast tied it with a cross court kill.  The Regents took the lead 16-15 on a roll shot by Sydney and Sarah Bruchet finished the game, set and match with an ace.  Regents win set 5 17-15.

It was ironic that this match ended with an ace serve considering the Regents donated 16 free points to the Conquerors on missed serves.  At the end of the day, St. Lucy's found the strength it needed to battle the adverse conditions and muscle out the win.  The Regent stat leaders were Roni LaPierre, 22 kills, 14 digs; Loryn Carter 14 kills, 2 blocks; Sydney Bast, 16 kills, 11 digs and 2 aces; Sarah Bruchet, 3 aces, 12 digs, and 5 assists; and Juliet McClure 18 digs and 43 assists.

Next up:  Rancho Cucamonga, Tuesday, September 17th.  This match is dedicated to the Wounded Warrior cause.  Shirts are available for purchase and the proceeds are being donated to this worthy cause.

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