Cypress High’s girls volleyball team dominated the first set, but Kennedy High regrouped, forcing the Centurions to scrap for a 25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 25-20, Empire League victory last week at Cypress High.
The win improved Cypress to 2-0 in league play, while Kennedy fell to 1-1 in league play. Last year, the Centurions won the league title at 8-2, while Kennedy took second with a 7-3 record.
Cypress took a big lead early in the first set. They led 10-3 and were able to basically hold that lead throughout. However, the Fighting Irish were able to gain a slight lead early in the second set and the match turned into a fight. The match was tied at 24-24 after a net serve by Kennedy. However, the Centurions had a hit go long and another tap over the net that fell wide to tie the match at 1 set apiece.
Cypress Head Coach Gus Tuaniga said the Centurions have struggled with consistency, noting that the team has played well early in several matches, but has lost focus at times. If they can get over that mental block, Tuaniga likes his team’s chances to repeat.
“If we can play the way we did in the first set, we’ll be fine,” Tuaniga said.
The crucial third set was another tight battle. Cypress gained control early with leads of 10-6 and 14-10 before the Fighting Irish gained momentum.
Trailing, 16-13, the Fighting Irish went on a 5-0 run. Sarah Ito had a kill through a block attempt to start the rally. After a couple of Cypress missed hits, Caitlyn Sasaki had an ace serve off a back row dig attempt that gave Kennedy a 17-16 lead. Dejenea Blair had a tap shot to the open middle to push the lead to 18-16.
However, the Centurions rallied to regain control. Cypress went on a 6-0 run of its own. Sophomore middle blocker Genevieve Crenshaw had two kills in the rally and sophomore outside hitter Natalie Repetti added another during the run.
Blair had a kill through blockers to stop the rally and cut the lead to 22-19. However, Repetti had two more hits for points that gave the Centurions a 24-19 lead before eventually closing out the set.
Cypress grabbed an early lead in the fourth set. Kennedy battled back, getting as close as 22-18, before the Centurions were able to close out the match.