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Girls volleyball snags first win of season

In arguably their toughest match of the year, the Claremont girls volleyball team defeated Sierra League rival South Hills in a 5-set thriller on Tuesday night to earn their first conference victory of the season.

The Wolfpack were down 0-1 and 1-2 early on, but rallied in sets 2 and 4 behind the strong play of their seniors to draw even with the Huskies and force a fifth set.

After trailing 8-4 in set 5, Claremont rallied back to even the score up at 9-9. Junior Denise Brittain helped the Wolfpack jump out to a 13-11 lead, but the Huskies would fight back with several points of their own, tying the game at 14-14 and 15-15 after being down in both situations.

Unfortunately, the Huskies could not hold off the Wolfpack much longer and conceded 3 of the next 4 points to give Claremont an 18-16 victory.

Before the final set, head coach Allan Comerford reminded his team to play smart and to focus on executing the upcoming serves. 

“I told them, ‘let’s just keep our serves in and play the defense like we normally would,’” Coach Comerford said. “They stepped up and they kept their swings in.”

Claremont was led by a trio of senior captains who set the tone for the Wolfpack on both offense and defense. Janie Feldsher recorded 13 kills and a team-high 6 blocks while Gina Valvo led the team with 5 digs.  Annalyese Fausel played a crucial role in the Wolfpack’s offense with 32 assists.

A win like this can do wonders for Claremont moving forward, but Coach Comerford said this match served as a reminder that nothing is over until it is over.

“I think [this win] lets the girls know that they have to fight for every point,” Coach Comerford said. “No matter what the score is, whether they’re up by one or down by a couple, they need to work hard.”

In the opening set, Claremont exchanged points back and forth with South Hills, but was unable to put game away, falling 25-21.

Claremont turned up their intensity in set 2 with a 25-19 victory to pull even with South Hills, 1-1. Valvo made a number of key hustle plays on offense and defense to spark the Wolfpack’s comeback win.

After falling behind 16-10 in the third set, Claremont went on a 7-1 scoring run to take the lead 17-16. They could not hold on to the lead, however, surrendering the game 25-19.

In a must-win fourth set, the Wolfpack opened with an 8-3 scoring run. Claremont widened their lead at 20-10 and never looked back, claiming the fourth set 25-18 to force a fifth and final set.   

Throughout the match, Claremont did a good job of keeping South Hills on its toes with its explosive and timely offense, which is exactly what they wanted to do coming into the match.

“I wanted to focus a lot on taking [South Hills] out of their system, as far as getting into the setter, putting up a good block and making sure that we run our offense quickly,” Coach Comerford said.

Results of Thursday’s match with St. Lucy’s will be in the next edition of the COURIER. The Wolfpack will compete in the Ayala Tournament this weekend and will take on Chino Hills and Charter Oak next Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

—Bryan Stauffer

sports@claremont-courier.com

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