East Union had its volleyball playoff lives on the line during Tuesday’s Valley Oak League finale at Sierra High.
The Timberwolves had nothing to lose, showing no quit on senior night.
In the end, East Union (7-7, 9-6) prevailed, winning the match in four games, 25-13, 25-27, 26-24, 25-23.
“There were some intense moments,” said Lancers coach Jenaia Cano. “(The Timberwolves) improved since the last time we faced them.
“They made us step up our game.”
As for playoffs, Cano added that the seedings won’t be determined until later in the week.
Meanwhile, Sierra coach Trinity Johnson was proud of her team’s performance.
“They took senior night to heart and put forward their best effort,” she said.
The Timberwolves (2-12, 5-15) played predominately their seniors in the first game – the lineup consisted of Stephanie Davis, Victoria Watson, Jessica Lopez, Victoria Schneider, Alison Armstrong and Emily Doran – with East Union taking control from start to finish.
But from the second game on, both teams were locked in some tight battles filled with momentum changes.
The second game featured 11 ties and seven lead changes.
“After that first game, we seemed to have eased off and (Sierra) made us pay,” Cano said.
Behind the serving of Gabby Olmo and Allison Walljasper, the Timberwolves jumped out to an early 8-3 lead. Included were a pair of aces by Olmo and one by Walljasper, who also had two kills.
East Union did likewise from the line, with Regina Dias getting a service ace. She had four aces during the match along with 23 assists.
The Timberwolves trailed 22-20 when Valerie Nestor scored on a block and Schneider delivered an ace. In addition, they took advantage of East Union mistakes late in the game.
Sierra rode the momentum into the third game, taking an early 8-6 advantage thanks to kills by Walljasper, Nestor, Emily Doran, and Stephanie Davis.
But nine ties and four lead changes later, the Timberwolves were looking at a 24-23 game-point situation when they suddenly faltered.
East Union took advantage of the mistakes and finally won it on an Alexis Steele kill.
The Lancers led through most of the fourth game. Sierra again rallied, knotting things up at 23-23.
East Union went back on top for good, scoring match-point on a hitting error by the Timberwolves.
“We gave it our all,” said Johnson. “We were also able to get everybody into the match.”
Doran led the way with five kills and two blocks. Watson had 13 digs and two kills while Schneider contributed 36 digs and three aces.
In addition, Lopez had three assists, an ace, and one kill, Armstrong tallied nine digs, and Davis finished with 22 digs, five kills and two aces.
For the Lancers, Starla Beltran had 10 kills and nine digs. Aliysa Hoffman came through with five blocks.
“We also made our share of errors,” said Cano. “But we found a way to play through the mistakes.”
East Union 2, Sierra 0
The Lancers took the best-of-three match rather handily, 25-14, 25-19.
Kayla Honeycutt had five assists and four digs for Sierra. Gianna Lenoci and Claudia Hunter chipped in by playing strong back-row defense.
Sierra 2, East Union 1
In a match that went three games, the Timberwolves prevailed, 25-20, 21-25, 15-6.
Megan Degroot led the way by delivering nine service points in the decisive third game. She also had four kills and an assist.
Tayler Moss added two digs, one kill, and four assists for Sierra, with Monique Angel contributing eight digs.