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VOLLEYBALL: Central Catholic serves up sweep for Spartans
Bulletin sports fall 2021
Lathrop's Krystle Sakay reaches for a dig at Central Catholic. - photo by Wayne Thallander

MODESTO — After a sound thumping in Game 1 of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs at the hands of No. 5 Central Catholic, 12th-seeded Lathrop bounced back in the second set to force five ties up to 12-12.

Enter Raiders senior Kate Cover.

Cover closed out the second set on a 12-0 run behind four aces and had an 8-0 run late in the third game on the way to a 25-5, 25-12, 25-12 sweep at the Mark Gallo Health and Fitness Center. The defending champion Raiders head to No. 4 Vanden for the second round on Thursday.

“She has been a big server for us all year,” Central Catholic coach Michelle Springmeyer said of Cover. “She has done a lot to figure out how to put it where we need it and we know we can count on her. She does a great job and that short serve of hers came up big tonight.

“When something like the start of that second game happens, we need to keep with the momentum we finished with in the first game. We had to figure that out and once we got on it we took off.”

Cover led the Raiders (17-8) with 10 digs and teammate Sydney Hanks pounded out 13 kills. 

With the exception of that second set, the Spartans (14-3) had problems finding a groove and Lathrop coach Toa Fa’ali’i thought his team was nervous.

“We were nervous,” Fa’ali’i said. “Everything starts with the passing game and our passing game wasn’t there.”

One bright spot for Lathrop was that it committed no service errors.

“Our serving was there tonight,” Fa’ali’i said.

Krystle Sakay led the Lathrop attack with 14 digs, five kills and a block followed by LaNicia Ellis (three kills, block), Azul Maldonado (three kills, three digs, ace), Lylliana Avila (eight digs, kill, assist), Thracylie Acoba (11 digs), Camila De La Garza (seven assists, five digs), Alejandra Vazquez (five assists, four digs) and Hailey Grant (kill, dig).