For all intents and purposes, the longest running league winning streak in Central Section girls volleyball should have come to an end last week.
Central Valley Christian High entered its Central Sequoia League match Sept. 29 at Exeter with an 8-16 overall record and unranked by The Bee, an uncharacteristic position for the small-school power that competes perennially with the top teams in the section.
The Monarchs, meanwhile, were 21-5 and ranked 14th by The Bee, having gone 6-5 against opponents either ranked or previously ranked.
And Exeter was ahead 20-18 in the third set and aiming for a sweep after winning the first two.
But by the end of the night, the Cavaliers extended their league winning streak to 78 games, stretching back to 2009, with an 18-25, 25-27, 26-24, 25-23, 15-13 victory on the Monarchs’ home court.
“It speaks volumes to the tenacity that program has,” said someone who ought to know, Exeter coach Samantha Hilvers, a 2005 CVC grad. “It doesn’t surprise me. That’s a long history and a big camel on their back that my girls have to shake. It’s that mental aspect we need to grow past.”
The Cavaliers remain unranked after losing 22-25, 25-21-, 25-13, 25-23 at home against No. 5 Garces on Oct. 1. But they will look to extend their league winning streak Tuesday when they host Kingsburg. CVC and Exeter meet again Oct. 18 in Visalia.
We had all that pressure on us. It’s hard not to let that pressure get to us, but we did it.
Central Valley Christian junior libero Paige Calvin
“We had all that pressure on us. It’s hard not to let that pressure get to us, but we did it,” CVC junior libero Paige Calvin said. “This win is huge for us. From this point on, we’re trying to keep that streak alive for ourselves. Not for CVC teams of the past, but for this year’s team and this year’s dynamic. We’re just trying to win league and see what happens.”
CVC, a program that has won 14 section titles over four divisions in the past 21 seasons, has experienced growing pains this year with a 12-player roster featuring only two seniors: middle blocker Alyvia Visser and defensive specialist Vanessa Knevelbaard.
“It has been a struggle this season, but it’s nice to know we can play a game like this and we can play as well as we did against a team like Exeter,” Visser said. “Because we don’t have any 6-foot tall players, we all know it’s important to work together and serve each other.”
The Cavaliers have played one of the toughest schedules in the section, facing 10 of The Bee’s Top 20 teams. It’s a schedule that should leave CVC battle-tested for the section playoffs, which begin Nov. 3.
“This game very likely could be the turning point in our season,” CVC coach Sarah Oskam said. “We have a ton of hard, hard workers, and the taste of victory makes working hard in the gym that much easier and motivating. I’m excited to see where we go from here.”
Central Section Volleyball Rankings
- 1. Clovis (29-5)
- 2. Buchanan (18-3)
- 3. Liberty-Bakersfield (15-6)
- 4. Bakersfield Christian (22-1)
- 5. Garces (12-3)
- 6. Clovis West (20-5)
- 7. Clovis East (16-6)
- 8. Central (25-9)
- 9. Stockdale (14-12)
- 10. Clovis North (13-10)
- 11. Centennial (10-11)
- 12. Frontier (15-9)
- 13. Mission Oak (17-7)
- 14. Exeter (21-6)
- 15. Yosemite (27-3)
- 16. Hanford West (19-8)
- 17. Redwood (15-8)
- 18. Liberty-Madera Ranchos (23-1)
- 19. Sierra (18-2)
- 20. Monache (17-7)
Division I: 1. Clovis; 2. Buchanan; 3. Liberty-Bakersfield
Division II: 1. Garces; 2. Exeter; 3. Redwood
Division III: 1. Bakersfield Christian; 2. Mission Oak; 3. Yosemite
Division IV: 1. Liberty; 2. Sierra; 3. Minarets (13-5)
Division V: 1. Immanuel (15-11); 2. Frazier Mountain (21-2); 3. California City (9-8-4)