After a shaky start, Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ volleyball team calmed down, unleashed their hitters, and out-hit cross-town rival Folsom on its way to a 23-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-21 win.
With senior outside hitter Mikayla Newsome-Rouse and middle Lauren Petersen leading the way, the Eagles (1-1) had too many weapons for the taller Folsom team. Defensively, the smaller Eagles also out-blocked the Bulldogs (2-3) on their way to victory. Katy Kasparian provided a solid third option for the Eagles, who were coming at the Bulldogs from every angle.
“You wouldn’t think we would out-hit them, as we’ve got a smaller team than we’ve had in the past, but our ball control was a whole lot better, we played fast, and our serving was tough,” Vista coach Dave Faz said. “We have a lot of weapons.”
None of that was apparent early, as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the first game. Folsom scored the first seven points before Vista managed a point. After scoring three more, Faz had seen enough and called timeout.
“We had some nerves early, but we rebounded well,” Faz said.
“It was a rough start,” Newsome-Rouse said. “I’m proud we got past that and fought. We drive off of energy and once we started playing with it, it got us going.”
Vista scored 22 of the next 35 points to come back to tie the match at 23 on an ace by Jadyn Shaw. Folsom, however, got a big kill from outside hitter Claire Kehoe and then won it on a hitter error by the Eagles, escaping with a 25-23 win.
The teams played to an 11-11 tie in the game two before Vista took the lead for good 13-11 after back-to-back aces from Kasparian. Vista rolled from there, outscoring Folsom 12-2 to take game two, 25-14.
Folsom had five serving errors in the game that killed them. Petersen did the same to them from the middle, as she dominated at the net.
“Our serving killed our momentum, if we had any to begin with,” Folsom coach Michella Harvey said. “This was our poorest showing across the board with our serve-receive game.”
Like Petersen did in the second game, Newsome-Rouse stepped up in the third game and led her team to a 25-15 win. Folsom trailed 14-10 before the Eagles scored seven straight points to pull away to a commanding 21-10 lead. Newsome-Rouse was responsible for four of those points on two kills, a tip and a block.
The Bulldogs rebounded in game four and played much better, sticking with the Eagles throughout. Trailing 22-16, Folsom didn’t fold. Scoring five of the next six points on points from Kehoe, Allison Hakes, Sydney Radell and Karmin Brown, Folsom cut Vista’s lead to 23-21 before the Eagles finished the match with a block and then a kill from Milan Calcagno.
Newsome-Rouse is excited for the season.
“I think we’re going to be a good team and do pretty well” she said. “We might be young, but we will be competitive and we’re going to kill it.”
Harvey was disappointed with her team’s play and the loss. She countered her disappointment by acknowledging it’s early in the season and there’s still time to fix the mistakes and improve.
“I’m glad this happened at the beginning of the season, as it shows us what we have to work on,” Harvey said. “These girls are good at picking up on our weakness and knowing what we have to work on, but they have to be accountable and follow through on the court. Vista was killing us with short serves and we didn’t make the adjustment. We worked on blocking in practice yesterday, but it wasn’t absorbed. We just couldn’t put it together offensively. If we had a good pass, we couldn’t put the ball away. We couldn’t find the holes in their defense.
“We’ve got talent and height this year and the girls have lofty goals, so I’m confident we will learn from this.”
Harvey praised the play of Hakes, her sophomore middle blocker, and also said setter Sabrina Bigley played well.
“Sabrina has made a remarkable improvement from last year in controlling her emotions and running the offense,” Harvey said.
Folsom plays at Inderkum Thursday before opening Sierra Foothill League play Monday at home against Nevada Union. Vista has non-league matches on Tuesday at River Valley and at home Sept. 14 against Amador.