The Central Section’s top-ranked girls volleyball team looked the part with first place in the Tri-River Athletic Conference on the line.
Clovis High received 21 kills on .450 hitting and 11 digs from BYU-bound Taylen Ballard in a 25-19, 25-23, 25-22 sweep of The Bee’s No. 4-ranked Clovis West on Tuesday at the Golden Eagles’ gym.
The Cougars (31-6, 4-1) forged a tie with Clovis West (22-6, 4-1) atop the league through the first round of TRAC play. The Clovis Unified rivals meet again Oct. 27 in the final match of the regular season.
“We knew we had to win, so we came in with a pumped attitude,” Ballard said. “We were real excited to play, and the hype we came in with is what led us to a win. And now that we’re back tied, we have even more fire in us to keep going.”
We were real excited to play, and the hype we came in with is what led us to a win. And now that we’re back tied, we have even more fire in us to keep going.
Clovis opened the season with 28 straight wins, including title runs at the Clovis Volleyball Challenge, Central California Classic and Hard Driven Classic before struggling in the national-class Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix, where the Cougars went 2-5 on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
And when the Cougars returned to TRAC play Oct. 4, they lost to Central 25-23, 19-25, 24-26, 25-23, 16-18 to drop out of first place.
Clovis responded with a 25-23, 25-22, 25-22 sweep of Buchanan on Oct. 6 and carried that momentum into the Clovis West match.
“We’ve been in a rut – winning, but we haven’t been playing our game,” Cougars coach Rich Lake said. “Tonight it felt like everyone was on the same page. We were executing at a high level and playing good volleyball. Clovis West did some things to try and mix it up on us, but we made good adjustments.”
Clovis never trailed in the first set, overcame a 21-17 deficit in the second set and a 21-19 hole in the third.
The Cougars also received 11 kills from Keri Leake, eight kills and seven digs from Erin Mossette and 42 assists from Jasmine Heu.
“We’ve been playing not our game lately,” Leake said. “But today we definitely took a step in that direction, We were like ‘Wow, this isn’t us.’ We had to pick up our game.”
Clovis West, which dropped a 25-16, 25-18 match to Clovis in the final of the Central California Classic on Sept. 10, was led by Tiersa Bailey with 12 kills. Aubrey Olson added 10 kills and 10 digs, Micah Hebert had 10 kills and six digs and Sarah Armendariz contributed 23 assists for the Golden Eagles.
“From the tournament a month ago, it was definitely better,” Clovis West coach Rhonda DeRuiter said. “It was not pretty the last time we saw them. We had a lot of improvement. I thought the first half of sets two and three, we played pretty well. Then we just couldn’t keep our momentum.”