Posted on 07 October 2013 by La Habra Journal
by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
In a tightly contested matchup, the Sonora girls’ volleyball team struggled to find consistency in a 3-1 league loss to Fullerton, Monday night at Sonora High.
The Lady Raiders nearly matched Fullerton point-for-point in the first three sets, but after falling 24-26 in the third set, Sonora struggled to keep up the energy in the fourth, falling 23-25, 25-22, 24-26, 12-25.
“We [as coaches] can’t want it more than the girls,” said Andy Johnson, Sonora head coach. “We put a good gameplan out there, we prepare in practice, but we’re at the point in the season where they have to step up and perform. We competed, but I wanted more, this is a game we should have won.”
Throughout the match, there were times of intense energy and focus, followed by times where it waivered, which was key in a matchup that featured plenty of runs, comebacks and fast starts.
Kendall Rubeshaw led Sonora with 13 kills, while sophomores Nicole Fraga and Emily Sonny added 12 and 11 respectively. Janiece Tolmasoff finished with 34 assists.
The first seven points of the match were an indicator of how the first three sets would unfold. Sonora jumped out to a 6-1 lead only to watch Fullerton bring it back on a 5-0 run after an early timeout.
However, Sonora scored the next four points, including two service aces by Sonny, and the game of streaks was on.
With the Lady Raiders up 15-14, Rubeshaw held serve as Sonora scored six consecutive points to make it 21-14.
However, at 22-16, Fullerton made its move as Madison Mullane led a 9-1 charge, surprising Sonora as the Lady Indians took the first set.
Mullane led Fullerton with 12 kills.
In the second set, Tolmasoff distributed the ball well for Sonora, as all three hitters came away with at least three kills.
Despite spreading the ball, the Lady Raiders had to come from behind to take the set on a 5-0 run to tie the match at 1-1.
“That shows what we’re capable of,” Johnson said. “What we want is to make sure we’re always attacking. Too many times we’re just too passive and when a game is tight that’s when we have to push.”
Sonora gained an early advantage in the third set and received more momentum after Fullerton coach Garry Currier was issued a yellow card for his remarks toward officials.
However, midway through the set, Sonora became erratic and communication fell through resulting in tough first contacts.
Down by five points, the Lady Indians strung together a 9-2 run in which five different players recorded a kill and Sonora committed some costly mistakes.
Fullerton had match point at 24-21 when Vedah Berekoff served Sonora into a tie with two aces.
However, the Lady Indians closed the set when the following volley hit the rafters and fell in, followed by a tip kill by Mullane.
“Give credit to Fullerton, they’re a scrappy team,” Johnson said. “They came into our place, dug deep and found a way to really push late. They did a fantastic job.”
Fullerton jumped out ahead early in the fourth set and never looked back as Sonora appeared rattled and disheartened after dropping Set 3.
“This was a long night and I wish it was a little longer,” Johnson said. “I’d like to see more out of these girls. This is definitely one I’d like to have back.”
Fullerton’s Haley Shulte finished the match with 34 assists, while Cheyenne Carrel, Alex Castillo and Nicole Defelicis record six kills each.
Johnson said that serve-receive and first-ball contact will be a focal point in practice as the team prepares for a road match at Buena Park, Wednesday night.
“We knew Fullerton’s servers were a strength for their team,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t step up, which was disappointing…. We’re really not showing a lot of senior leadership out there. When times are tough, you don’t want a sophomore out there trying to pump up the team, you want those who have been on varsity for two or three years.”
OTHER FREEWAY LEAGUE SCORE:
La Habra 3, Sunny Hills 1 – Details upcoming!