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Rodriguez leads huge comeback in Sierra win

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Rodriguez leads huge comeback in Sierra win

Sierra Tailes (right) and Alysia Atkins go up for a block on Tracy's Erica Gasior during the T'Wolves five-game win at home Thursday.

BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED August 27, 2009 11:57 p.m.
Down 17-24 in Game 4 and facing match point against Tracy Thursday at Sierra High, Modesty Rodriguez stepped to the end line just hoping to extend the contest as long as possible.

Mission accomplished.

And then some.

Serving up nine straight winners to lead Sierra to a thrilling 26-24 Game 4 win, Rodriguez gave her teammates the boost they needed and the T’Wolves didn’t look back in taking home the win, 25-18, 19-25, 21-25, 26-24, 15-10.

“I wasn’t nervous at all, I just wanted to make points and win the game,” Rodriguez said of her match-saving service streak. “We still have to work on some things, and we’re getting there. But everyone gave their all tonight and we were able to pull together.”

Rodriguez, who Sierra head coach Tevani Liotard called the player of the game, finished with 10 service points to complement 22 assists.

Sophomore Sierra Tailes provided a spark at the end line as well, finishing with six service points, while Michelle Arroyo turned in seven ( one ace)  and three kills, including the match-winning tip in Game 5.

Liotard said both Arroyo and Tailes will be pivotal for the Timberwolves this season, while Rodriguez – one of three captains – will be asked to provide exactly what she did Thursday night: Pin-point passing.

“Modesty is the type of athlete whose size doesn’t matter to her,” Liotard said. “She’s got to take care of the ball, and she knows her job this year. She’s got to set the ball where ever it may be; she’s excited to take on that roll and I’m excited for her to lead the team.”

But it wasn’t all about backcourt play Thursday night.

Jaslynn Liotard (12 kills, 8 service points, 1 ace, 4 blocks) and Alysia Atkins (15 kills, 6 blocks) showed tremendous potential at net, booming home a number of kills and finding gaps in Tracy’s defense with several tip winners as well.

Liotard made it 10-6 in Game 1 with a huge kill then backed it up with consecutive stuffs to double up the Bulldogs and send her team down the path to the early victory.

Atkins took over in Game 5, turning in three kills and a monster stuff block to make it 12-9 and push the momentum squarely into the blue.

“Jaslynn and Alysia are doing fine, but I want them to do better,” Liotard said. “I feel like they tip way too much. They need to hit the ball like they have the power. When they do, what happens? They get great kills. So come on, they have to do that, and I have to get that into their heads.

“Instead of being careful, let’s be courageous.”

Up next for the T’Wolves (1-0) is a trip to Edison Tuesday.

Downey 3, East Union 2

The Lancers showed a lot of promise in fighting back from a two-game deficit to force a fifth game before coming up just short in the loss, 15-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20, 8-15.

Amber Abidi played well at net for EU, and Haley Rosenthal stepped up as a new member to the team this season.

“Everyone contributed and everyone played at one point throughout each game,” Lancers head coach Eryn Bowers said. “It wasn’t a win, but the girls played well for the preseason opener.”

Manteca 3, Franklin 0

The passing was on for Tim Horning’s squad right out of the gate, as the Buffaloes were able to shake off any first-game jitters and cruise to a 25-19, 25-12, 25-16 win.

Davina Bennett came up big, finishing with 15 assists and 13 service points, while Cynthia Perez handled the net with six kills.

Abigail Rosas provided a pair of digs and Dallas Mould had three blocks.

“We came out passing well and it didn’t fall apart,” Horning said. “This is the first time I’ve had a team win its first game in five years, so we’re hoping we can build on that.”

Manteca hosts Enochs Tuesday before hosting a Foundation Game against West Thursday.

Lathrop 3, Gustine 0

In Gustine, the Spartans rode a phenomenal effort from sophomore Janelle Butler (15 aces, 28 assists, two kills) to a breezy sweep, 26-24, 25-8, 25-14.

Crystal Ruiz wasn’t too bad herself, chipping in eight kills and six aces, while Cecilia Lopez provided three aces, 10 kills, two blocks and an assist.

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