Lady Ranger spikers
out after two rounds
By Misty Volaski
They rallied, they dove, they
gave it everything they had. They came back spectacularly from
two games down, saving several match points in the mammoth fourth
to force the decisive fifth, but couldn't sustain the intensity.
The Nordhoff girls varsity volleyball team met its match on Saturday,
losing in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division
III-A play-offs to the No.-3-ranked Notre Dame Knights of Sherman
Oaks, 12-25, 25-27, 25-22, 28-26, 7-15.
Alison Bennett led the No. 6 Rangers with 12 kills and five blocks,
and Brittney Ferro notched eight kills of her own in their final
high school match. The two seniors came up with big plays time
and time again, helped in the middle and on the back line by
fellow senior Shannon Bryant (six kills, 18 digs) and junior
Game one saw the Knights take advantage of the Rangers' mistakes.
Five Ranger service errors led to an 11-9 lead early on for the
Knights. Notre Dame setter Kayce Matthess then ripped off six
straight points with her floating jump serves. The Rangers, unable
to produce any offense in game one, were taken care of easily,
The Rangers came out with a sense of urgency in game two, led
by senior co-captains Bennett and Bryant. Nordhoff jumped out
to a 16-8 lead with five service points by Cresto. Then the Rangers
succumbed to their own errors and steady play from the Knights,
finding the score was 20-20. The momentum had shifted and the
Knights pulled off a game two come back by a score of 27-25.
Game three saw the Rangers scratch and claw their way back into
the match. Cresto led off the match with eight unanswered service
points and her first of two aces of the match. Once again the
Knights were able to battle their way back into the game. The
Knights came within three points before senior Stephanie Sproul
dug an attempt by the Notre Dame and finished off the point with
Notre Dame came all the way back to within one after a time out.
But senior co-captain Ferro (35 assists) was not about to let
the Knights steal this game from the Rangers as she stuffed a
kill attempt by Notre Dame's Megan Hayes, pushing the lead back
to two. The Rangers finished off the Knights in game three by
a score of 25-22.
Game four allowed no time for either team to relax. The Rangers
took an early lead with the help of back-to-back aces by Bryant.
With the Rangers leading 10-6, Notre Dame Head coach Shannon
Tuttle was given a yellow card warning for disagreeing with a
call, adding more intensity to the game. Notre Dame tied the
score at 13 and was able to gain a two-point lead later in the
game from four services aces by Meredith Rice.
But the Rangers refused to fold. Nordhoff received three aces
of their own over the course of the next five points, one by
Ferro and two by junior Stephanie Flasch (nine kills). Bennett
then added two solid kills to keep the Rangers within one at
22-23. From there the lead switched hands several times. Cresto
came up with two of her match-high 21 digs at the 25-26 mark
to keep the game and match alive and allow Ferro, Bennett and
Flasch to finish up game four for the Rangers at 28-26.
Perhaps the drama and effort of the previous two games had sapped
the Lady Rangers of their energy. In game five, they never gained
any momentum. The Knights countered everything the Rangers hit
their way, and Nordhoff came up short in its efforts to pull
off the upset.
Ranger coach Rene Nakao-Mauch expressed her admiration for a
senior-led team that consistently showed effort and skill throughout
what was really quite a successful year. "The kids came
out and played their hearts out tonight," she said.
The Rangers finished the season with a Frontier League championship
at 8-0 and a an overall record of 18-4.
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