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Cougars get by Lady Aztecs
BARSTOW • As far as the coach is concerned, it all comes down to consistency.
The Barstow volleyball team played well in stretches, but it wasn’t enough to pull out victory number four on the season, as Granite Hills came to town and downed the Lady Aztecs, 3-1, at Barstow High School on Monday night.
The Cougars won by scores of 25-13, 25-21, 19-25, 25-18.
The only game in which Hills won going away was game one. The Aztecs hung in and made every other game a challenge for the vistors, even though they only got one victory.
Barstow got the first two points in the first game - one of them an ace served up by Shekinah-Joy Toloumu - but Hills took control shortly after and held on. The Cougars have a couple of strong net players who stand up to the hard kills administered by Barstow players such as Heather Verrill. Kills that aren’t usually returned were coming back over the net, as the Cougars recovered quickly.
“We made nine digging and receiving errors in game one,” said Aztecs head coach Tynelle Olivas. “That’s half the game right there.”
Game two was the closest, with the score tied five times and the two teams trading kills in the early going. Maxine Cooks administered a couple of big kills, as did Verrill, to keep it neck-and-neck. Some out-of-bounds hits by the Aztecs helped turn the tide in the Cougars’ favor, giving them the four-point win.
Toloumu began game three with an ace, as she had in game one, and the Aztecs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the only game they’d dominate start to finish. Verrill had more kills, as did Cooks, and Vasa Alefaio at one point slammed down a kill to regain the serve for her team, then went to the line and served up an ace.
The Cougars made things interesting by climbing back in and tying the game up at 16-all. Some resounding kills gave the edge back to Barstow, and Chelsea Phillips wrapped it up, providing the final kill for the 25-19 win.
That forced a game four, which the Aztecs controlled early, with kills by Verrill and Toloumu leading to a 5-1 lead and a Cougars timeout. An ace by Breanna Low made it 9-2 Aztecs, but at that point, Hills began chipping away. Some long hits by the home team gave points to the visitors, who finished with the seven-point win.
Verrill paced the Aztecs in kills with 12. Toloumu had 19 assists and seven kills, and Alefaio two aces and 17 good serves.
The loss brings the Aztecs’ record to 3-5.
“We’re so much better than how we’ve been playing lately. It all comes down to consistency,” said coach Olivas. “We need to be consistent offensively, defensively, and in transition between plays.”
The Aztecs have done well rallying their way back from bad situations this season. It shows some nice skill and desire, but Olivas is looking to take the upper hand from the start.
“It’s like one error gives birth to another,” she said. “We can’t allow other teams to get ahead and force us to rally. We’ve done great at rallying, but I’m trying to eliminate the need for it.”
The Aztecs have today to practice, then get right back out on the court on Wednesday, hosting Burroughs for a 5:30 p.m. varsity start.