Volleyball: Wildcats hold off Vikings

October 17, 2001|By JON HINSHAW, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — This one may have had even the most wholesome of volleyball fans only able to say one phrase, "Damn, what a match!"

The first time the two Imperial Valley League heavyweights, Brawley Union and Holtville high schools, met earlier in the season, it was a good, hard-fought match.

This one was even better.

Tuesday's match went the distance, with Brawley finally outlasting the visiting Vikings here Tuesday via a 15-2 win in the fifth game. Brawley won the first game 15-3, lost the second 15-13, won the third 15-10 and fell 15-13 in the fourth.

"It was a very good match," said Brawley's Leighan Sudduth. "They played us tough last time and again this time."

Passing was the deciding factor for Brawley.

"Tonight a lot of our best passers were off," said Wildcat coach Phil Finnell, "but we had to stick it out. We used some of our backups and they played awesome."


Added Sudduth: "Passing really helped us out tonight. We didn't have it in the games we lost, but the games we won we did very well."

While the Wildcats (18-5 overall, 8-0 IVL) overcame 44 unforced errors and 18 missed serves, the Vikings' mistakes caught up with them in the fifth game. Twelve miscues and four bad serves cost Holtville (5-3 IVL) mightily in the final game.

"We didn't show up," said Viking coach Valerie Deyo of the fifth game. "We battled all the way and all Brawley had to do was put the ball over the net."

Added Holtville hitter Regan Rothfleisch: "People were afraid to dig in and play. We didn't pull it together. At the beginning we missed a couple serves and it brought us down."

The final game got out of hand quickly as the Wildcats shot ahead 5-0 with Michelle Garcia collecting four service points. Holtville responded with a couple points to bring the score to within 8-2, but Brawley reeled off the final seven points.

How swiftly the final game went by didn't do the Vikings justice considering what happened in the middle three games.

The Wildcats shot out of the gate with a 15-3 victory in the first game behind seven service points and three kills from Trisha Fleming, but Holtville won two of the next three games.

Rothfleisch served for five of her 14 service points in the second game. Holtville went ahead 1-0 and never lost the lead in the game as Rothfleisch and Carley Johnson combined for seven kills and Brawley had six mis-serves and 12 errors.

Erin Cato led the Vikings to an 8-3 lead in the third game with eight straight service points. Rothfleisch and Johnson kept the offense going during the stretch with a combined four kills as Michelle Strahm accumulated four of her team-high 17 assists.

After a point by Claudia Lopez to give Holtville a 9-3 advantage, Kaylin Rubin served for six straight points to tie the game at 9-9. Mykell Johnston gave the Vikings a lead again at 10-9.

Sudduth, who had 14 assists and 12 kills total, served for three of her 11 service points to give Brawley a 12-10 lead. Following a missed serve by Holtville, Fleming scored the final three points.

"We've let them have the momentum a lot," said Deyo. "We're just as talented as they are, but it seems like every time we play Brawley it gets in our heads that they are better than us."

The Vikings got away from that line of thinking in the fourth game as they put together a 10-5 advantage. Rothfleisch led her squad with five points, but Brawley fought back.

Rubin served for a point and Denae Smith served for five more to give Brawley an 11-10 advantage. Holtville responded with a 4-0 run in the 15-13 victory. Johnson collected two of her nine kills down the stretch of game four before Brawley romped in game five.

"We used a little different lineup in the first four games," said Finnell. "It caused us some problems, but we went to our regular starters in the final game and it proved effective."

Brawley will hit the road for its next match during its IVL bye week. The Wildcats picked up a match with Palm Desert at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Holtville will continue its road tour at the same time and date against Southwest in El Centro.

Imperial 3, Southwest 1

IMPERIAL — The Imperial volleyball team took down Southwest here Tuesday 15-9, 11-15, 15-8 and 15-9.

Andrea Aguirre led the Tigers (16-5, 5-3 IVL) with 15 points and five blocks. Jenny Bowlan had 10 kills and five blocks for Imperial. Lindsay Lugo chipped in 11 points and Melanie Medina added 10.

Southwest (3-9 IVL, 2-6) was led by Jessica Conway's 14 kills and Melissa Lerno's 14 assists.

The Tigers will head to Calexico to play at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Calexico 3, Palo Verde 0

BLYTHE — Behind Denise Ceseña's 19 assists, the Calexico volleyball team swept Palo Verde here Tuesday 15-6, 15-6 15-6.

Adding to the Bulldogs' victory were Lupe Escobar and Claudia DeLeon, with 12 and 10 kills respectively, and Linda Mendoza with 14 service points. Calexico is 5-3 in the IVL.

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