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Volleyball: Wildcats wrap up IVL title

October 26, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

BRAWLEY — After clinching a tie for the Imperial Valley League title Tuesday, it would have been easy for the Brawley Union High volleyball team to cruise into its match against Imperial High here Thursday with the mindset of having nothing really to play for.

Instead, Brawley went into the match focused, ripping the Tigers 15-1, 15-8 and 15-9.

"We still have CIF to play for right now. We're ranked No. 3 in the division and we want to finish strong. I was really proud of how they played, they showed the heart of a champion," said Brawley coach Phil Finnell. "It's not difficult at all to get up for this match. It's close to the end of the season and we're still playing for continuity and to see who steps up."

As has been the case so many times this season, it was Wildcats Leighan Sudduth and Kristin Colace who did the stepping. Colace finished with 22 assists, eight kills and six points and Sudduth recorded a triple-double with 26 assists, 17 points (three aces) and 11 kills.

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Said Sudduth, who through the first two games served for 12 straight points: "Our goal coming into this match was to beat them 15-0 each game. But that didn't happen … that might have been too much confidence. But I was happy with our serving and I think we played better today than we have all week."

Credit has to go to Imperial, who after getting smoked in the first game by 14 points came back in the second and third games with strong showings.

In the third, the Tigers matched the Wildcats blow-for-blow and at one point held a 5-1 lead. That lead did not hold for very long as Brawley rallied to tie to the contest and then take the lead. Brooke Pace closed the match with five straight service points for the Wildcats.

While Brawley may have played its best match of the week, the same could not be said for Imperial, which committed 36 unforced errors.

"This team just cannot get up for the big games. They're just not used to playing in the big games yet. And that's just the inexperience on the team," said Tiger coach Rich Ponchione. "We had one of our seniors not play tonight, so I had to go with three sophomores and a freshman in the starting lineup. So that's just our inexperience."

A factor that may have played a part in the outcome was Brawley simply being Brawley.

"When we walked into the gym we had all this blue and gold around us, all these fans, then we look across the net and see them … I think that got into their heads," added Ponchione.

The loss drops Imperial to 7-3 in the IVL and into third place.

Both teams will host matches at 6 p.m. Tuesday with Brawley (11-0 IVL) taking on Central and Imperial playing Palo Verde.

Holtville 3, Central 0

HOLTVILLE — The Holtville High volleyball team improved to 8-3 in Imperial Valley League play with a 15-6, 15-1, 15-3 win over Central Union High here Thursday.

Leading Holtville was Mykell Johnston with 26 points, eight aces, five kills and an assist. Regan Rothfleisch added four kills and a block, Claudia Lopez had two kills and a block and Michelle Strahm finished with 11 assists for the Vikings.

Holtville will compete in the Mira Mesa tournament in San Diego on Saturday.

Southwest 3, Palo Verde 0

BLYTHE — The Southwest High volleyball team recorded its third Imperial Valley League victory of the season with a 15-7, 15-9, 15-2 win over Palo Verde here Thursday.

Leading Southwest were Melissa Lerno with 14 assists, Jessica Conway with eight kills and P.J. Enders with 10 points.

The Eagles (3-7 IVL) will host Calexico at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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