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CIF volleyball: ’Cats keep clawing

W.R. reaches first semifinal in program’s history

Posted: May 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Refuse to lose?

Never say die?

West Ranch boys volleyball hasn’t quite figured out what the theme of this season has been, but there’s no time to think about it now.

The Wildcats rallied to win three straight games on Saturday night at West Ranch High School, upsetting No. 3 seed Laguna Beach 3-1 in the CIF-Southern Section Division II quarterfinals.

That makes three straight playoff victories for the Wildcats (23-9), who lost the first game of the match 25-16 before rattling off wins of 26-24, 25-23, 25-23.

Prior to this week, West Ranch had never won a playoff game.

“All the emotion gets us going and honestly, that’s where the talent comes from,” said West Ranch senior Anthony Hanna, who had 52 assists.

West Ranch’s win came a little more than an hour after Valencia beat Capistrano Valley 3-1 to advance to its own semifinal.

It’s the first time two Foothill League teams appeared in a semifinal round of the same CIF-SS Division II bracket.

“They’re not going to give up,” said West Ranch head coach Nate Sparks. “It doesn’t matter if they’re up, they’re down. They’re going to keep fighting.”

The Wildcats backed it up on Saturday.

Laguna Beach (22-9) easily won the first game, but began having trouble with West Ranch’s crisp and accurate serving.
Tanner Skabelund had a team-high 15 kills while Chris Lyon and Dalton Peck each had 11 kills.

After inching out wins in games two and three in dramatic fashion, the Wildcats’ had yet another test in the fourth.

A series of errors helped the Breakers take a commanding 10-2 lead.

Laguna Beach fed the ball to outside hitters Weston Barnes and Jackson Pries, who tallied 17 and 13 kills, respectively.

West Ranch slowly and methodically carved into Laguna Beach’s lead, putting together an 11-3 run to take its first lead of the game at 21-20.

From there, the teams exchanged points back and forth until Skabelund slammed two straight kills to finish it off.

In its first semifinal appearance in school history West Ranch will hit the road to face No. 2 seeded Corona del Mar.


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