STOCKTON — Weston Ranch took a 5-0 lead in the first set Tuesday and led by five points early in every set only for West Campus to come back and sweep the Cougars 25-20, 25-21, 25-20 in opening-round action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
“We had a problem holding leads tonight,” Weston Ranch coach Debi Chavez said. “West Campus has been playing for a while. We stayed with them the whole time but we got in our own heads and they kept getting point after point on runs.”
This was the first year of boys volleyball for the Cougars (13-7), unlike the veteran Warriors (13-4) from Sacramento.
“They have club players and for a first-season team we did pretty well out there,” Chavez said. “If we were in the same boat it would have been a different game.
Ryan Nepomuceno did his part for Weston Ranch, helping the Cougars jump out to a 5-0 lead in the first set with two of his team-high eight kills.
“With this being the playoffs I wanted to bring all I could,” Nepomuceno said. “I think overall as seniors we did set the tone for next year and the years to come.”
Armando Mendoza added three kills and three blocks for the Cougars and Kenneth Cha had three kills and an ace.
Jarien Falcon tallied 22 assists for Weston Ranch.
“I tried to make sure the sets were perfect for them,” Falcon said. “And that that they are easy to adjust to.”
The second set was the best for the Cougars who never trailed until 22-21. West Campus scored the final five points of the set.
The Warriors kept up the pressure throughout the match with some very impressive jump serves.
“I try and not let them hold back because I want them to be confident in that jump serve and be confident in the play that they practice to make sure that we can use it in high-pressure situations,” West Campus coach Paris Kidd said. “We practice the game and that’s the game we play.”
Evan Billeci had nine kills for the Warriors and Devan Albro added seven kills.