Tuesday’s junior varsity volleyball match between the Santa Clara Bruins and the Wilcox Chargers was yet another chapter in what could be a best-selling thriller. All of the rivalry volleyball matches this season have been intense, edge-of-your-seat type games. This time around the two JV teams went the distance in a best-of-three match. Santa Clara capped off their victory by a rather comfortable 15-11 margin compared to the the first two sets which were won by the slimmest of margins, 26-24 and 25-23.
Santa Clara would come back to win the first set 26-24 after trailing 5-0 to start. Wilcox would even things up by taking the second set. Given the tight nature from start to finish, it’s not surprising both head coaches were pleased with their respective efforts regardless of winning or losing.
“I am very pleased,” noted Bruins Head Coach Shayna Crawford. “Rayna [Oeschger] has been playing outside for us, so for her to play back in the middle tonight and come out on fire was awesome. I had a different libero tonight again too, Emmy [Nguyen]. She did great, she was diving for balls and communicating well. I’m just really proud of the whole team tonight.”
“Definitely not the result we wanted, especially in a rivalry game, you always want the bragging rights,” joked Chargers Head Coach Ariana Nuti. “We’ve been working a lot in practice on communication, working as a team and controlled volleyball. Compared to some previous games that we’ve had, the girls improved a lot tonight. So I told them after the game in our huddle that this isn’t a bad loss in terms of how they played.”
For the Bruins, it was Oeschger and Nevaeh Tayama who stood out offensively, but the play of the game was arguably Nguyen coming up with a huge dig in the final set with the score tied at 7-7. Santa Clara’s setter Mikaylee Garcia also showed a knack for hustling and saving balls far off the court.
“Things went really well in this game, we did a great job communicating,” noted Tayama. “We played our game tonight.”
Wilcox likewise received strong showings from both their libero Isabelle Cannon and middle blocker Gabriella Cavallos.
“I think we played great and we worked hard. We were aggressive,” chimed the Chargers’ Rosemary Costales. “Isabelle was great, going after balls that aren’t even hers and getting the digs. Gabriella was great too in the middle.”
With the victory, the Bruins even up their season series with both teams winning on their home court.