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Volleyball: Southwest rallies past Bulldogs for 3-2 win

October 05, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

CALEXICO — Up 11-4 in the third game against Southwest High, the Calexico High volleyball looked to be on its way to a 3-0 sweep of Southwest here Thursday.

Fans started heading for the exits as Calexico was about to wrap up an inevitable Imperial Valley League victory.

Then something happened. Most teams aren't supposed to be able to flip a switch and turn their games on and off whenever they please. But the Eagles turned on their switch and the Bulldogs turned off theirs, as Southwest completed a near-miracle comeback to beat Calexico 3-2.

After losing the first two games 9-15 and 5-15, the Eagles responded by taking the last three 15-11, 15-13 and 15-6.

"I knew that this team could play better than it had been," said Southwest coach Karen Saikhon, whose team entered the contest with a 2-7 overall record and a 1-3 mark in the IVL. "We always seem to start slow and that's what happened tonight. But we knew we had to turn something around. This was a total team effort and I think this may be the turning point in our season."

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A big reason for the comeback was the performances of Jessica Conway with 15 kills and Melissa Lerno with 17 assists.

If there was one player on the Southwest squad who could be the sole reason for the win, it would be Veronica Marcuson, the team's only senior. It was Marcuson who took over service in the third game with her team looking at an 11-4 deficit. She responded by ripping off 11 straight service points to give her team the game and momentum.

After the Eagles tied the contest by taking the fourth game, Marcuson scored four more points in the fifth to give her team a decisive 13-4 lead.

"We were kind of down on ourselves after the first two sets. Then when I got up to serve in the third, I knew our team needed points," said Marcuson, who finished with 20 service points. "Even though we were down on ourselves, I had confidence in the team and I knew we had this in us.

"We were able to pull it all together tonight and I think now our entire team is coming together. Now we're starting to play to our potential."

On the other end of the spectrum was a dejected Bulldog squad (3-2 IVL) that had been playing as well as nearly any team in the league. Things seemed to be falling into place for the young Calexico team as it was looking at sole possession of second place in the IVL. Now it finds itself in a tie for second with Imperial and Holtville and only one game ahead of Southwest.

Leading Calexico in defeat were Melissa Noriega with 14 kills and Monica Garcia and Claudia De León, both with 10 blocks and eight kills. Mayra Gonzalez added 18 assists for the Bulldogs.

"We started off strong, but then we opened the door for Southwest and just let them back in this and gave them confidence," said Bulldog coach Cami Mohamed. "We just missed serves and passes at critical times.

"This is a tough loss for us, but I don't want our girls to forget something like this. We just have to learn from it and make changes to correct what we were doing wrong."

Both teams host matches at 6 p.m. Tuesday, with Southwest taking on Central Union High in El Centro and Calexico playing Brawley.

Brawley 3, Central 0

The Brawley Union High volleyball team improved to 4-0 in the IVL with a 15-7, 15-2 and 15-0 victory over Central Union High in El Centro on Thursday.

Leading Brawley were Denae Smith and Brooke Pace, both finishing with 12 points. Leighan Sudduth added 13 assists and six kills, Kristen Colace had 17 assists and Morgan Smith finished with five blocks for the Wildcats.

Imperial 3, Palo Verde 1

BLYTHE — The Imperial High volleyball team improved to 4-2 in the IVL with a 15-5, 12-15, 15-4, 15-10 win over Palo Verde here Thursday.

Leading Imperial were Andrea Aguirre with 12 kills, 12 points and six blocks, Lindsay Lugo with 25 assists and nine points and Jenny Bowlan with 12 kills, eight points and three blocks. Melanie Medina added 11 points for the Tigers.

Imperial will compete in the Calipatria tournament Saturday.

Mountain Empire 3, Vincent Memorial 1

CALEXICO — The Vincent Memorial volleyball team dropped to 3-2 on the season with a 3-1 loss to Mountain Empire here Thursday.

Leading Vincent in the loss was Tamara Zimmer with 11 points.

The Scots will compete in the Calipatria High tournament Saturday.

Calipatria 3, Julian 2

CALIPATRIA — The Calipatria High volleyball team remained undefeated in the Desert Mountain League with a 3-2 win over Julian here Thursday.

Calipatria won 15-10, 16-14, 4-15, 9-15 and 15-13.

Leading the Hornets (3-0 DML) were Lilia Humble with five kills and three blocks, Sarah Erickson with 17 points and Sophia Perez with six kills.

Calipatria will host its tournament Saturday.

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