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Strong win for Lady Aztecs
BARSTOW • After three straight losses, the Barstow volleyball team righted itself last night.
The Lady Aztecs welcomed Adelanto to town on Tuesday, and took a 3-1 win from the Lady Saints at Barstow High School.
The Saints are new to the league and are having a tough year, still in search of their first win. For Barstow, it was a chance to try to regain some of their confidence and get their numbers back up.
“We could play like this all the time, this team is capable,” said head coach Brooke Verrill after the victory. “Confidence high, no mental breakdowns. We played well against Victor Valley in our last match, and we played well tonight.”
Though they’ve been numbers-challenged in their losses, some of the Lady Aztecs beefed up those stats in Tuesday’s very first game. Marissa Keeton started the match by serving up an ace, on the way to an easy, 25-11, Barstow win.
Heather Verrill had two kills and two aces in game one, while Jean Letuli and Breanna Low each had an ace and kill, and Chelsea Phillips had a pair of kills and an ace.
“This is how we play in practice all the time,” said coach Verrill. “We talk about it and get it done in practice, but it doesn’t always carry over into matches, which is puzzling.”
After no bad serves in game one, there was a bit of trouble for the home team at the line in the second game, allowing the Saints to keep pace in the early going. The visitors had their first lead of the night at 3-2, and it was tied twice before kills by Verrill and Low put Barstow on top again. At that point, Maxine Cooks stepped to the line and reeled off three straight aces. Cooks had a kill later in the game, as did Tiare Alefaio, who also had an ace down the stretch, leading to a 25-17 win.
Game three was the only one the Lady Aztecs lost, and it was a close one, 25-23. With senior night coming up Monday, coach Verrill wanted to see what it would like with all seniors on the floor.
“I’ll be short a setter for senior night, so we tried something a little different in game three,” she said. “I wanted to see what all seniors would look like. It was still a close game.”
Verrill had three kills in the third game, and Phillips had two. Esperanza Gallegos, who served as libero, contributed a couple of key digs.
“Esperanza has improved a lot,” said coach Verrill. “My middle players are strong, but she’s there when I need her. She’s really impressed me in the last couple of weeks.”
Barstow bounced back with a decisive, 25-15, win in game four. Low had three kills and an ace, Verrill served three consecutive aces, and Alefaio had the final kill of the match.
Verrill finished with 12 kills and five aces, while Low had 10 digs, seven kills and five aces. Letuli had seven digs, three kills and an ace, Cooks four kills and four aces, and Phillips five kills and four aces.
“There were still some coverage issues, but overall, the girls did a great job,” said Verrill. “This will give us confidence to take to Silverado.”
Barstow (5-8) will be at Silverado on Halloween night, and will play at home one more time. Granite Hills will come to town on Monday at 5:30 p.m. for the senior night match.