Vista takes Diamondbacks in four games

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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It’s been a rough start to the season for Vista del Lago varsity girls’ volleyball team, but on Thursday night the Eagles picked up a big win on the road at Union Mine. Facing the defending Division IV state champs, the Eagles got off to a slow start by dropping the first game 25-20, but rebounded to win the next three to take the match. Vista played better as the night went on, taking the second game 25-20, the third 25-22 and finishing the match with a solid 25-12 victory. “Anytime you can win a game up here against a program with a rich volleyball tradition it means something,” Vista coach Patrick Sanders said. “I’m not sure what it means tonight, but I’m just glad we got the win because we needed it.” The Eagles struggled with hitting errors in the first game in particular, and when their shots weren’t in the net or out of bounds, many were blocked by the Diamondbacks formidable front line. Vista, though, battled through the rough start and never gave up. Tied at 19 late in game two, the Eagles put the match away by winning six of the next seven points. The first three points came on Union Mine hitting errors, while Kara Campbell had a pair of kills, including the game winner, and Kelsey Sampson added one from the back row for good measure. Vista trailed 13-9 in the third game, but a Vista timeout came at a good time and the Eagles promptly scored the next four points to tie the match behind the solid play of Sampson, who had two kills and a block during the stretch. Kendall Moore also put a ball down for a point. The Eagles worked up a four-point lead of their own at 18-14 on blocks by Kaitlin Hughes and Moore, an ace by Sampson and an Union Mine hitting error, but the lead didn’t last. The Diamondbacks came back and the game featured ties at 20, 21 and 22 before a block by Summer Nichols gave the Eagles the lead for good at 23-22. The Diamondbacks couldn’t get the next two balls over the net and Vista won 25-22. Vista never lost the lead in the third game, but Union Mine was competitive while trailing 15-12 midway through the game. The Eagles, however, scored the last 10 points to breeze to the win in easily their best game of the night. “We finally started playing volleyball and were limiting our errors,” Sanders said. “It’s been an up-and-down year and an emotional roller coaster so far, but we’re starting to see those peaks and valleys get a little smaller.” Sampson led the Eagles with 25 kills and 25 digs, while Campbell had 17 kills and 23 digs. Moore finished with 12 kills, while Jordan Cryderman made 17 digs and was nearly flawless on the backline. Sanders was hoping to see growth and consistency out of his team at the Mitty Tournament over the weekend and he saw both, despite losing and then winning every other match. Vista dropped its opening match Friday to St. Francis before beating Santa Barbara. On Saturday the squad dropped a tough five-set match to Salinas before finishing the tournament with a three-game sweep of Oak Ridge. “I was happy with the improvement in consistency, which is something we have been struggling with,” Sanders said. “While there are still a number of things we need to work on, we are seeing more and more glimpses of our potential.”