Oak Ridge’s varsity girls volleyball team tamed the Tokay Tigers Tuesday night in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs’ first round.
The Lady Trojans won at home in three, 25-18, 25-9 and 25-11.
“We just want to focus on getting through to Davis,” said sophomore Maddie DeGeorge, who had a great night setting and serving. “This is our year.”
If every match goes like this one a championship banner should go up on the Oak Ridge gym’s wall but the team has tough competition ahead. They face Monterey Trail Thursday.
Tuesday’s match started with a back-and-forth battle as the Tigers came out strong, keeping up with Oak Ridge but never able to take the lead. Co-captain Haley Simmons, a senior, scored first with a signature kill but miscommunication on the court after fellow co-captain Alexa Becker, also a senior, dove for a dig gave Tokay its first point.
Mysha Davies stepped up next, sending an unreturnable kill over the net before the Tigers did the same. Another Simmons kill and another Tigers kill tied it up 3-3 before a long rally resolved by a decisive kill from senior Arden Zuber gave the Lady Trojans a little momentum.
Junior Tara McDermott’s sets gave Oak Ridge’s power hitters an advantage at the net. Davies and Simmons made key kills and blocks to keep the Tigers at bay but an aggressive Tokay rally and a few Lady Trojan errors had coach Becky Potter on edge. She called timeout when the Tigers got within two, 13-11.
Confessing after the match that her yelling might not have been the most constructive coaching technique at that time, Potter said she was grateful for her assistant coaches’ more reasoned tones. Their calmer words apparently got the girls back in the game.
DeGeorge set up nice kills for Becker, Zuber and Simmons. That combined with strong serves and Tigers’ errors gave Oak Ridge its first win.
In the second game Troy steamrolled Tokay. Simmons sent kill after kill over the net, and she and Davies blocked well. Troy went on a 16-3 run and never looked back. Frustrating Tigers’ errors only added to Oak Ridge’s score and a Simmons tip sealed the deal, 25-9.
Troy’s third game started out as strong as the second but a Tokay rally taught Oak Ridge that the Tiger’s wouldn’t go down without a fight. They came within on, 5-4. So the Lady trojans fought back, going on an 8-0 run led by Simmons and Becker. A single Tokay point recharged Troy and they followed with a seven-point run before a short rally went Tokay’s way, making the score 20-6.
The Tigers make the Lady Trojans work for the final five points. McDermott and sophomore Hayley Corell teamed up for the first and junior Rachel McVicar nabbed the second with a great block. A Tokay kill sailed by McVicar and Corell, brining the score to 22-7 but Tigers’ errors then gave Troy two points. The winning point came from Corell, who perfectly tipped the ball beyond Tokay’s reach.
“Two more, then we head to Davis,” Potter said with a smile. “I think having the home seed eases some of the pressure and nervousness.”
Oak Ridge is No. 2 in the division.
Oak Ridge Principal Steven Wehr watched the girls win Tuesday night and commended the coaching staff for “brining out the best in the girls.
“These kids are having a great season,” he said. “They work so well together.”