King rallies with three straight sets to down Claremont in girls volleyball playoffs
By Brian Haas
RIVERSIDE — After dropping the first set Tuesday night, King’s girls volleyball team won three straight to defeat Claremont 22-25,26-24,25-21-25-15 and advance to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
“This feels really amazing because of all the hard work that we have put in,” senior Emma Thompson said. “The past couple years we were expected to make it out of the first round and we weren’t able to do it, so to finally be able to accomplish it is big.”
Thompson recorded 17 digs in the contest.
After dropping a close first set, the Wolves looked to be in trouble late in the second, trailing 23-19, but rallied to earn seven of the final eight points to win the set.
“Pulling that second set off in the fashion that we did gave us confidence,” said King coach Sondra Lough. “This team knew that if they could just get over that hump and get past the momentum that Claremont had in that opening set that they could win this match.”
And confidence it did give them.
The Wolves took control of the third set early behind a massive 10-point service run from Thompson, and did not relinquish that lead, clinching it with a kill from Emily Gutierrez.
Gutierrez helped to finish off the Wolfpack in the fourth with a pair of kills and two service aces.
King’s Taylor Orshoff and Kali Vandenberg tallied 15 and 11 kills respectively, while Sam Bickett recorded 28 digs. Jaden Grova made 28 assist in the contest.
Claremont was led by a 15 kill performance from Juliana Gomez. King will travel to Orange Lutheran for its second round match on Friday.
“I think for us to be successful (on Thursday), we are going to have to make smarter swings and be more consistent with ball placement,” Thompson said.