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Photo by Chelsea Buchanan
The Lady Aztecs volleyball seniors, left to right: Teren Hedberg, Angelica Vincent-Bishop, DeAnna Lopez, head coach Tynelle Olivas, Vanessa Robinson, Katelyn Andrews, Shekinah-Joy Toloumu.

Lady Aztecs wrap up season

BARSTOW • The Barstow High School volleyball team honored its seniors before playing its final match of the season on Monday night. The Lady Aztecs hosted Granite Hills, which took a 3-0 win.

The Cougars won by scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-19.

It was another close match that came down to the little things, according to coach Tynelle Olivas. The Aztecs kept up many long volleys with Hills, but too many of those ended with a point for the Cougars.

“It came down to the mental errors for us all year,” said the coach after the final match. “Our skills are there; it was us misreading the hit and being forced to dive out of position to make a play, things like that. Our physicality has always been there, but we haven’t always been there mentally.”

The first two games were close until the last few points. Game one was tied five times into the mid-teens. Heather Verrill, Maxine Cooks and Angelica Vincent-Bishop spiked down kills early on, while Teren Hedberg at the line served up an ace. In the end, the Cougars just found too many holes in the court and were able to collect the last few game points.

The second game started well, with Shekinah-Joy Toloumu serving up a pair of aces. Toloumu later collected two big kills to tie the score at 11-apiece, while Vasa Alefaio and Verrill also came up with kills.

Some Aztec long hits and bad serves got the home team off to a slow start in game three. The Cougars were up, 12-4, when Barstow took a time-out. The Aztecs made a comeback after that, with kills from Alefaio and Verrill and an ace from Toloumu helping to make up some lost ground. In the end, some strong play at the net helped the visitors get the last few points, and the win.

Verrill finished with 10 kills and four blocks. Toloumu had 11 assists and three aces, and DeAnna Lopez 20 receives and 16 digs.

The match marked the end of the high school volleyball careers of seniors Katelyn Andrews, Vanessa Robinson, Lopez, Hedberg, Toloumu and Vincent-Bishop. Though they all would have liked to get more wins, none was disppointed in her senior volleyball experience.

“We could have done a lot better, but I always had fun with the girls,” said Lopez. “I had fun all three years.”

“We didn’t get enough W’s, but I always had fun,” agreed Toloumu. “I’ve known these girls for most of the time I’ve been in high school. It still hasn’t hit me that this was my last volleyball match.”

Both Lopez and Toloumu hope to continue playing volleyball next year in college.

“This wasn’t the season we wanted; I wanted better, especially for seniors like DeAnna and Shekinah who are going to play in college,” said coach Olivas. “We have the talent; there’s no reason we shouldn’t have finished higher in the DSL. It all came down to those little errors. This is a very competitive league, and those little things will cost you.

“But there were many positives, both individually and team-wise. The girls never gave up, they fought through each and every match.”

And many will return next year, with that much more experience.

“I have seven girls returning, including my number-one hitter and blocker (Verrill) and my number-two hitter (Chelsea Phillips),” said Olivas. “Four starters will be coming back. We’ll have a lot of talent; hopefully that translates into being more competitive.”

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