Zoe Kossart led Sierra early on Thursday night to a 25-15, 25-18, 25-22 sweep of visiting Oakdale to open the Valley Oak League volleyball campaign.
In the first set, Kossart (nine kills, seven aces) pounded out six kills, and in a five-point service run she pounded out three aces. She kept up the serving prowess in the second game with three consecutive aces in a six-point service run.
“I knew Oakdale was going to be a very good team,” Kossart said. “I couldn’t give them anything easy, so I went back there with the mindset that I was going to ace them and I was going to serve tough.
“I knew that they would pick up a lot so at the net. I just went up there and swung hard.”
All three games followed the same footprint – four or five ties early on, the Timberwolves (1-0 VOL, 6-6 overall) would then pull away and eventually withstand a late rally by the Mustangs (0-1, 6-6). According to Sierra coach Kim Ellis, that was exactly what the Timberwolves game plan was.
“We focus a lot on establishing momentum and running with it,” Ellis said. “We just take one point at a time and focus on that.
“Once we establish momentum often times it works out in our favor.”
Karlie Burns patrolled the back row with a vengeance, hustling for 10 digs while dishing out three aces.
“I just try and keep my teammates in mind,” Burns said. “I just want to hustle and get everything I can to try and set us up for success.”
Abigail Chapman (six kills, three blocks) got the final points of the first two sets for the Timberwolves, closing out the first set on a kill and the second on a block.
“Getting those final points were really cool,” Chapman said. “That’s never happened to me before, and our team has been working really hard and today we really came together. I was able to draw from our team’s energy and that’s what motivated me to try my hardest.
“I always try my hardest but I think today was special because we were just working together so well and I really wanted to make sure that I could pull through for my team.”
Chapman’s sister Alexandra Chapman (seven kills) picked up the attack in the third set with four kills down the stretch.
“It’s so cool,” Abigail Chapman said. “I love watching my sister play. She’s the best.
“I know I’m biased but it’s great.”
Sierra’s Cianna Leonardo dished out 13 assists. Sophia Threet added 12 assists and three kills and Sophia Marian had six kills and three aces.
Oakdale is trying to recover from a key personnel loss earlier in the season.
“We are just trying to stay focused as a team,” Mustangs coach Kaitlin Burke said. “We had a pretty big loss early in the pre-season against Sonora. Our senior libero No. 17 (Paige Taylor) got injured and she will be out for the season and that’s been a big loss to us.
“The girls are trying to fight back from that, come together, do a lot of bonding and a lot of hard work in practice to fill that void on the court.”
The Timberwolves travel to Modesto on Thursday night to face Central Catholic at 6:15.
Sierra 2, Oakdale 0
Hannah Threet led the Timberwolves to a 25-22, 25-20 win with six kills, three digs and two aces.
Amari Currey added four digs, four aces and two kills and Danica Cesante dished out seven assists.
Oakdale 2, Sierra 1
The Timberwolves bounced back from a first-set loss to take the second but drop the third 20-25, 25-16, 10-15.
Kylie Pimentel led Sierra with seven assists, five aces and five digs. Rachel Dole added eight digs, Kaylee Rodriguez an ace and four digs, Angelica Arenas four kills, Luna Lopez three kills and Zhanee Sutton two kills.