In a hotly-contested rematch of the league opener, the Wilcox Chargers once again got the better of rival Santa Clara on Tuesday, winning 3-1 (25-15, 17-25, 25-22, 25-19).
On a night where Wilcox was celebrating its graduating seniors, it was sophomore Amanda McDowell who took center stage during the season finale. This Chargers six-footer was not only smashing kills from the outside, but she also tipped in a couple of kills with a deft touch at the net.
“When Isha [Gokhale] first went down [with an injury], I had someone else first fill in [instead of Amanda],” admitted Chargers Head Coach April Lujan. “But then I figured Amanda is going to be our outside hitter next year, so I might as well just get her ready to play that position. Did I know she was going to progress this quickly? Honestly, no I didn’t. But she really wants to play volleyball. She’s smart, she’s aggressive and we’ve talked about her playing club so she can get to an even higher level.”
It was a tough season overall for the Chargers. Gokhale lost the majority of her senior season to an ACL injury. However, Wilcox rallied around their injured captain, finishing one-game better than their rivals with the season-series sweep.
“When I look back on this season I’m just going to think about my girls,” said Chargers’ senior Savannah Ramon. “They pushed me to do my best, to have no fear, be strong and just go for it.”
Along with Gokhale and Ramon, the Chargers will also say goodbye to seniors Ella Jevtic, Laura Wong and Dani Stock this season.
The Bruins, on the other hand, will have to make due next year without seniors Fiona Paul, Bianca Blandford, Alle Wilson, Mia Malvini, Bella Tamone and Madison Kohls.
“I had all the seniors speak in our post-game chat and they all expressed appreciation for the younger girls and vice versa,” said Bruins Head Coach Megan Morse-Quevedo. “Our seniors expressed that they look forward to the seeing their younger teammates continue to grow and build the program.”
Blandford’s response on how she will look back on the season encapsulates the sentiment that the team worked together as a unit, and not individuals.
“I’m going to look back on all the games, all the wins and all the losses, but mostly just that we had terrific chemistry,” said Blandford. “That’s what I’m going to remember most, is all the chemistry we had on the court.”
Wilcox finishes the year 3-9 in league, while Santa Clara finishes 2-10.