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Volleyball: Bulldogs rally past Southwest

October 31, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

A few weeks ago the Calexico High volleyball team suffered one of its most heartbreaking recent matches as it blew a two- game lead to lose 3-2 to Southwest.

On Tuesday Calexico had a chance to redeem itself as it traveled to El Centro to take on Southwest again.

It was difficult and the Bulldogs had to overcome a 2-1 game deficit, but they pulled everything together in a 3-2 Imperial Valley League victory.

The Bulldogs won 15-12, 14-16, 9-15, 15-9, 15-7.

"Coming into this, inconsistency and errors had really been killing us," said Calexico coach Cami Mohamed. "But those last two games, everyone stepped up, eliminated errors and just played a lot more consistent."

While Mohamed got strong play from her starters, she said the difference compared to the previous match against the Eagles may have been her bench. While a number of her bench players didn't get playing time, she said just having their support was enough.


"Tonight our bench didn't give up. There were some players that did come off the bench and contributed, but there were some that didn't. But those players that didn't play were into this match as if they were on the court," Mohamed said. "This was just a really big win for us. We really needed this win."

That sense of urgency seemed to be apparent in the final two games. Down 2-1 heading into the fourth game, the Bulldogs easily could have folded as they dug themselves an 8-3 deficit. But Calexico went on a 12-1 run to steal the fourth game.

With all the momentum on their side, the Bulldogs had their way with the Eagles in the fifth game to take the match.

"When we were down. We all knew that we had to get it together," said Calexico's Arlene Morales, who finished with 16 kills and 13 points. "Even though we were down, I had a feeling we'd get back up. We just needed a spark to pick it up and we got it in the fourth game. After that, we just kept it up."

Helping in the comeback were Mayra Gonzalez with 18 assists and 15 points and Claudia De León with 10 blocks.

The Bulldogs kicked off things well in the first game, overcoming a 9-4 deficit to steal the game 15-12.

Calexico hit a wall in the second and third games as everything it did wasn't enough. For every point scored, Southwest had an answer. Down 8-5 in the second, the Eagles outscored the Bulldogs 11-6 in a 16-14 game two win.

While Southwest won the third game by only six points, it seemed to be fairly dominant. With the game knotted 5-5, the Eagles went on a 10-4 run to pick up the victory.

Said Southwest coach Karen Saikhon: "We just lost momentum in the last two games. It's like we picked it up, then somehow lost it. But that's what happens when you have a young team like this. There's a lot of inconsistency. They just couldn't snap out of it.

"Sometimes the pace of the games just gets to them. But they have to learn to not let it get to them," said Saikhon. "We just have to put this behind us. We want to come back and play tough against Central. This is a young team, and I'd like to end the season with a good game so we can pick up on that for next year."

Leading the Eagles were Melissa Lerno with 29 assists, Jessica Conway with 13 kills and Denise Martinez with seven kills and two blocks.

Southwest's lone senior, Veronica Marcuson, playing her final home game, finished with six kills.

Both teams play on the road at 6 p.m. Thursday, with Calexico (6-5 IVL) playing at Brawley and Southwest (3-8 IVL) playing at Central Union High in El Centro.

Brawley 3, Central 0

BRAWLEY — Led by a 31-point, 10-ace performance by Leighan Sudduth, the Brawley Union High volleyball team rolled Central Union 15-0, 15-8, 15-2 to improve to 11-0 in the Imperial Valley League here Tuesday.

Sudduth scored 19 consecutive points in the first and second games to begin the match for Brawley. Morgan Smith added seven points and four blocks for the Wildcats.

Imperial 3, Palo Verde 0

IMPERIAL — The Imperial High volleyball team concluded its Imperial Valley League season with a 15-4, 15-2, 15-2 win over Palo Verde here Tuesday.

Leading Imperial were Melanie Medina with 17 points, Andrea Aguirre with 10 kills, Lindsay Lugo with 12 assists and eight points and Jennifer Stewart with seven points and three kills.

The Tigers finish the regular season with a 15-4 overall record and an 8-4 mark in the IVL.

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