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Prep volleyball: Learn from a loss

West Ranch uses defeat for improvement

Posted: September 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 14, 2011 1:55 a.m.

There’s an old adage in sports that says, “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

In that vein, the West Ranch girls volleyball team took on Notre Dame High School of Sherman Oaks, a talented team that had won its first three matches of the year.

The Wildcats (1-2) stuck with the Knights (4-0) through two games, before falling in each and eventually losing 3-0 Tuesday afternoon at West Ranch High School.

Sarah Mcgough led West Ranch with seven kills, while Angelica Rutledge finished with six kills and four blocks.
Danielle Thompson led the Wildcats with 10 digs.

 “I’d rather play 20 tough teams and learn from it and lose them all than play twenty games and win and not learn anything,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks.

If nothing else, the Wildcats, who finished third in the Foothill League last season, learned they are capable of competing against tough competition.

From the start, West Ranch looked like a team determined, leading as late as 21-20 before Notre Dame righted the ship and won the first game 25-23.

“The first two games we really, really wanted it,” Rutledge said. “Our enthusiasm was high, our energy was high.”

That enthusiasm showed in game two, as the Wildcats didn’t let the disappointment of game one linger.

Again, West Ranch stayed in the game throughout, but could not catch the break it needed to take the lead.

In the second game, West Ranch took an early lead at 5-4, but could not stay ahead, falling 25-21.

In game three, West Ranch made early mistakes, and never made it close in a 25-9 loss.

The Knights benefited from the play of captain Emily Moss, who finished the match with 20 kills and 18 digs.

“If I was to describe a captain,” Notre Dame head coach Kristin Gorman said, “I would describe Emily. On the court, she’s tenacious.”

Callan Kinnan added 38 assists to lead the Knights, and Jacqueline Lowe led with 12 digs.

“(In game three) they got on a run, and our girls fell apart,” Sparks said. “They couldn’t get out of it.”

In the end, though, the experience of playing against quality competition this early in the year might mean more than the result on the scoreboard.

“It’s going to be a lot easier (in league) …,” Sparks said. “As long as we’re improving; getting there with good teams, I’m happy.”

The Wildcats will return to the court at Louisville High School on Sept. 15.


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