Ventura takes win in five match game against Rio Mesa

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Lola Bobrow, John Studebaker, and Malik Hibbler

The Ventura High School girls varsity volleyball team took a close win on Thursday, Sept. 27 at home during their fourth league match of the season.

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Before the game, volleyball coach Debbie Litton said, “We played Rio Mesa [once before this year] and we lost to them in five sets at Rio Mesa. That’s our only league loss right now. So it’s important for us that we win tonight, especially going into the second round [of league finals]. The potential to win tonight would put us in good standing with only three more games left with Buena, Oxnard and Pacifica.”

When asked what the team needed work on for the rest of the season, senior and team captain Tatum Teel said, “I think that our passing in the beginning of the year wasn’t that great, but it has improved a lot because now we’re running every player and everyone’s able to hit on the court.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow

“We lost a key player at the beginning of the year due to injury,” said Litton, referencing former varsity captain senior Mary Sinclair. “We’ve had to have the girls really step up. We’re tied for first in league, and we have a 13-6 overall record, so this is now into the second round of league play.”

Sophomore Nevada Knowles (number 14) had the kill to take the first set for the Cougars, the score ending at 25-23. Kills from junior Gabby Sheldon (number three) and senior Tatum Teel (number five) also contributed in the Cougars taking the 1-0 lead.

The second set started out close: Sheldon had a kill that went long, putting Rio Mesa up 1-0, but the Cougars tied it up in the next play with a tip over the front row. Three of the Spartans balls that were hit out of bounds tied up the game 5-5. The Spartans fought back by rallying for the lead, making the score 10-8. Knowles gave a back set assist which gave the ball to senior Olivia Monarres (number 12), that tied the game 11-11. Ventura fought for the set against Rio Mesa, but unfortunately the Spartans took the second set.

“It’s hard to meet up with [the expectations of the previous years],” said senior and team captain Miranda Unzueta, referencing the 2018 team’s near win of the state championship. “We didn’t start off as well as we could’ve [this year], especially when we compare to previous seasons, although we’re working on it and we hope to take this league.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow
With Ventura up two sets to one, they continued with the lead in the third set, 11-6 against Rio Mesa. The third set was action packed, with many rallies. VHS ended up on top 27-25, putting them up three sets to one.

The matchup ended up going to five games. In the fifth set, Knowles came up first to serve and took four points for the Cougars setting the score to 4-0 in the set. After this, Rio Mesa called a timeout. The Cougars finished off the set with a score of 15-5 to defeat Rio Mesa in five games for their fourth league match.

Knowles stated her primary aim of the season to be, “just continuing to grow as a team.” Photo by: Lola Bobrow

When asked on what she thinks the team’s overall strengths are, Litton said, “I think we have very good ball control. A lot of teams have said that. We’re definitely a little bit shorter than [the team has] been in the past, but our ball control is very good so we play well in defense and we keep the ball in play quite a bit. Our game plan is to outwork the opponent and try to have very few unforced errors.”

Be sure to follow up on girls volleyball in the future, as they are currently leading the Pacific View League with a record of 6-1 with a four game win streak.