The Kimball High boys volleyball team showed great poise and level headedness to regroup and make immediate adjustments in a comeback 3-2 win after going behind by a set on Monday night against West High.
The hosting Wolf Pack came out strong and snatched the first set 25-21 as head coach Derek Sunquist’s team looked for their second win of the season. However, on a three-game win streak of their own, the Jags were not to be denied.
The visitors bounced right back with a 25-22 win in the second before taking the third in a dominant 25-11 display to take control of the game.
“We came in over confident,” Sundquist told the Tracy Press in the aftermath. “Jill Anastasio (Kimball HC) has her team in sync and we found out about it that night. We got caught by them coming out fast and strong after the first set. Hats off to them for coming out and keeping us out of our game.”
Kimball got back on track to extending their impressive win streak after starting spring 0-4 behind some solid play from the two key components to their offense. Junior setter Von Llacuna continued his impressive early season with 3 kills, six digs and 14 assists on the night.
In attack, junior outside hitter Gage Wimberley contributed with 10 kills and three blocks. Junior middle blocker Isaac Tapelu added three kills and six blocks in the win. Junior libero Wyatt Nunes had 12 digs and five assists.
Anastasio was very pleased to see her team overcome adversity and turn in the type of performance that they did in a tense rivalry match.
“There is just something about crosstown rivalry games that seems to bring out the absolute best out of these young athletes from both Kimball and West,” she said. “This win was very well deserved and earned by Kimball. This specific game showed how well our varsity team communicates and executes plays together.
“If you were an outsider, you would think that these boys have been playing together for years. But this is only our second year back from Covid even having a boys volleyball program.”
Though the Jags had all the momentum heading into the fourth set, the Wolf Pack also responded well to their setback in an attempt to protect their home floor.
West turned around and won a nailbiter 25-23 in the fourth set to send the game into the decider. Junior outside hitter Chauncey Arcangel shined brightest of all on the night, delivering 20 kills for the hosts.
Senior right side Yousif Noori had 4 kills and five blocks. Junior middle Manu Buatavatava chipped in with 9 big kills and four blocks. Junior setter Elijah Mic had two aces and 40 assists in a stellar performance.
Despite going on to lose 15-7 in the third set, dropping to 1-9 on the season, the last few games have been encouraging for Sundquist.
“We are finally starting to see some gelling take place on our side,” he said. “I am still playing around with lineups to see what combination will give us the advantage in the league. We need to work on our finishing.”
Anastasio’s side secured their fourth straight to improve to 4-4 and all of a sudden it feels like everything is clicking for the Jags. Even when things aren’t going their way, they find a way to get together and figure it out. They have the type of chemistry that breeds success.
“Our blocks, sets and hits just seemed to connect and hit the spots on the court where there was no coverage,” Anastasio said of her team’s performance down the stretch. “Every single player had that ‘rivalry drive’ to not give up and ended up bringing back the W to Kimball.
“I’m looking forward to the rest of preseason to see just how far determination gets this young varsity team before we start league play.”
Kimball has since improved their win streak to five games when they defeated Edison 3-1 on Tuesday night behind 9 kills from Wimberley and 6 kills from junior middle CJ Mitchell.
Wolf Pack get first win against Stagg
Off to a 0-7 star to their spring schedule, the West High boys volleyball team finally got into the win column with a hard fought 3-2 win over the Stagg High Delta Kings last Thursday at home.
Led by Arcangel, the Wolf Pack started well, taking the first set 25-17, and then surrendered their lead twice before coming together one last time for a convincing 15-7 win in the fifth and final set.
Arcangel led the way for the Pack with 19 kills and four aces. Everything went through impressive setter Mic on offense as the third-year player recorded 47 assists to go along with four kills and four aces in the win. West got a total of 53 kills as a team.
Stagg bounced back in the second set, taking a huge 28-26 win to get some wind under their wings in the game. Falling behind 2-0 would have been detrimental to the visitors’ chances.
West, however, regained control of the game with a 25-14 breeze in the third set. The momentum and confidence within the camp pointed towards a finish in the fourth, but out of nowhere, the Delta Kings pulled out a 25-13 win to tie things up – sending the game into a tie break.
Fortunately for the Wolf Pack, the team was able to regroup in the huddle with head coach Derek Sundquist front and center. It was very much a “better late than never” scenario for West – both in the game and the season overall so far.
The hosts took care of business in the fifth set to grab an enormous first win. Buatavatava came up big with 15 kills and four blocks to help pull the Pack over the line. Sophomore right side Marc Melad had four kills.
Contact Arion Armeniakos at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-830-4229.
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