Trailing 12-6 in the decisive fifth set, the Wilcox Chargers stormed back to tie things up at 13-13. Their 12th and 13th points had the home crowd erupting with deafening cheers. It wasn’t just the dramatic finish at the end, though. The intensity shown from the opening serve by the Wilcox players and the palpable excitement in the stands made for a much more effective energy boost than even the strongest cup of coffee. The atmosphere in the gym was downright infectious — a fully-charged Chargers crowd.
The home-court advantage was buoyed by a Chargers team looking to make history. At 10-1, facing the 11-0 Lynbrook Vikings, Wilcox was facing the only team that had beaten them thus far this season.
“After we beat Milpitas, I sent out an email to the entire staff to tell them that we have a chance at history, to be co-champs,” said Wilcox Head Coach April Lujan after the match. “Which has never even been close to happening in Wilcox volleyball history and we have a shot at CCS.”
Unfortunately for Wilcox fans, their squad would fall just short Tuesday night, eventually losing that fifth set 15-13.
Despite finishing their overall season with a 22-13 record and a 10-2 league record, the Chargers don’t get an automatic playoff spot. Coach Lujan will have to argue her team’s case to qualify at CCS meetings later this week.
Perhaps this loss to Lynbrook would be the Chargers’ best argument for a playoff spot. After losing to the Vikings in straight sets, 25-20, 25-20, 25-13, in the league opener, Wilcox won the first two sets in the rematch, 25-21 and 25-22.
“I am proud of our effort, our energy was good, it kind of sucks to end this way,” said senior captain Elise Corwin. “We obviously improved since that was our first league game until now. It was a big improvement, I’m super proud of these girls, it just sucks to end this way.”
“I’m incredibly proud of my team,” echoed fellow senior captain Deena Pederson. “Although the outcome may not have been what we wanted, everyone was incredibly hungry to win. Everyone wanted it more than I’ve ever seen anyone on this team want a win.”
Pederson paced the Chargers in kills in this match, as she was particularly strong in the first two sets and in the decisive fifth when Wilcox stormed back. Corwin was setting both Pederson on the outside and freshman middle blocker Clare Oudard on the inside with regularity. Despite playing against much more experienced players, Oudard was an absolute force for the Chargers in the middle.
“She’s a bloody fast learner, she’s competitive and she’s loud,” said Lujan on her star freshman. “She wants to learn because she wants to get better and because of that she’s exceeded my expectations. She’s really confident for her age and I’m excited to see the next three years with her, because she has been this team’s heart.”
If the Wilcox heart gets to keep beating this season, the first playoff game will be on Saturday, Nov. 2.