After she was forced to sit most of the opening set with an expulsion, East Union middle blocker Kiana Day made up for it in the final two of a 25-19, 15-25, 13-25, 25-21, 15-10 win over rival Sierra on Monday.
She came up with five kills in the pivotal fourth game, and it was Day who ended the long night at Sierra with her 11th kill of the match.
Although the Lancers (2-11, 3-14) claimed Game 1, they had to do it without one of their top front-line players, as she was ejected for the set after disputing a call with an official.
The Lancers celebrated after they thought they ended a long rally for a point, but it was given to Sierra (0-13, 9-16) since the ball touched an out-of-bounds antenna earlier in the sequence. East Union’s early lead shrank to 6-4.
“I told her you beat someone with your skills, not with your mouth — and she delivered,” East Union coach Chelsea Herrera said. “When she leads and is on like she was on the fourth game we’re unstoppable. She was able to focus as a true athlete and not let the game get to her. She did very well.”
Isabel Marmolejo closed out the first set for East Union with one of her six kills. Sierra, which started with an all-senior lineup for Senior Night, trailed just once in the next two games. The Timberwolves appeared to be on their way to getting their first league win of the season.
“They came out and they wanted it,” Sierra coach Trinity Johnson said. “They were ready to go.”
Dulce Cruz and Emma Brierly (three kills, 27 assists, four aces) combined for a block on East Union freshman standout Savannah LeBarre (12 kills, 14 digs, two aces) for a 22-14 lead, and Brierly evened the overall score with a game-clinching kill.
East Union continued to struggle with unforced errors and on serve receive in the third set. Brierly had back-to-back aces that pushed Sierra’s lead to 18-11, and a five-point service run — highlighted by Hailey Steele’s emphatic kill — from Lindsey Walljasper (11 kills, two blocks) set the Timberwolves up with game point.
The Lancers rediscovered their groove in Game 4, leading wire-to-wire. Sierra tallied three unanswered points capped by a block and dink from Walljasper for a 3-1 lead early in the fifth set, but East Union took over from there. Alexus Surnip served four straight points, two going for aces, to help the Lancers build a comfortable 11-6 lead.
“They really stepped up,” Herrera said. “That’s what I like about this team all season, they fight. They never gave up and found our rhythm in the fourth game and never let it go.”
Angelica Mercardo (24 assists) and Shelby Cefalu (10 digs) were other key contributors for East Union.
East Union 2, Sierra 1
Miekayla Surnip amassed 14 kills, as the Lancers held on for a thrilling 22-25, 30-28, 15-13 victory.
Sam Snyder led the offense with 18 assists, and Emma Valdez picked up eight digs.
East Union 2, Sierra 1
East Union came back for a 21-25, 25-15, 15-13 win.
Nicole Blair paced the Lancers with nine kills. Danielle James and Alejandra Rodriguez (two kills, two aces) finished with nine assists apiece. Julieanna Padilla added three kills, and Amalia Lopez served two aces and provided good passing from the back row.
Chloe Sabado (four kills, ace), Kylie Machado (three kills, ace) and Brooklyn Dias (kill, ace) led the Timberwolves.