By Jason Burch
La Habra Journal
After jumping out to an early lead only to watch it slip away in the opening set, the Lady Highlanders volleyball team bounced back to win three straight and pull off the four-set upset victory over Sonora Monday night at home.
La Habra jumped out to an early lead in front of the home crowd, outscoring the Raiders 8-2 to begin the match. After trailing 16-8 in the first, Sonora stormed back to tie it at 20, then outscored the Lady Highlanders 5-1 down the stretch to close out the set.
Coming into the game, Sonora (11-7) sported the better record and the momentum appeared to be shifting after the team’s slow start.
“I’m proud of them for not giving up after that first game,” said Adrianne Spear, La Habra head coach. “To have that 8-point lead and give it away in a matter of minutes, we knew we had to focus and eliminate the mistakes, and we did.”
However, La Habra (7-8) bounced right back to take early leads in the second and third sets and never relinquished the position.
The fourth set was back-and-forth all the way through a 12-12 tie, before La Habra pulled away with a 13-3 run to close out the match.
Sisters Victoria and Haley Rollins teamed up to dominate the net for La Habra. Victoria finished with nine kills and 11 blocks. The younger Rollins, Haley pitched in seven kills and eight blocks.
Taylor Richter, La Habra’s leading scorer this season, missed on several scoring opportunities in the first two sets, but finished strong. Richter notched five of her six kills in the third and fourth, and gave her team a boost with four aces as well.
Sophomore Ariana Gonzalez had an efficient game at the net for Sonora, finishing with eight kills and 12 blocks. Sonora Head Coach Andrew Johnson admitted afterwards that his team needs to do a better job of getting Gonzalez more scoring opportunities.
Spear was impressed with her team’s resilience and said competing against talented teams over the weekend in La Jolla without one of their top scorers, Marina Pilkington, helped boost their confidence.
“When we lost Marina, it forced us to really work together as a team,” Spear said. “I think having to figure that out this weekend really helped us a lot tonight.”
Both teams play again Wednesday night. La Habra will be at Buena Park (2-5), while Sonora will be at home taking on Sunny Hills (6-6).