KINGSBURG - The Kingsburg volleyball team overcame a slow start against No. 15 seeded Fowler, sweeping the Redcats 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-11) in a first round game of the CIF Central Section Division IV playoffs on Oct. 25.
Coming into the playoffs, the Vikings entered as the No. 2 seed and Kingsburg head coach Brittany Henderson said her team couldn’t overlook a low-seeded Fowler squad.
“They’re a very scrappy team,” Henderson said about Fowler. “They made a lot of great digs, really good with playing balls off the block and picking things up and hustling down. They gave us a really good battle. It was a really good first round match for us.”
In the first set, the Vikings were trading points back and forth with the Redcats. Fowler either had the lead or tied the score four different times. The Redcats were ahead 8-6 to start the game, but Kingsburg gained a 10-8 advantage. Fowler then tied it up 10-10, which was something the Redcats would do two other times throughout the set. The Redcats tied the score at 13-13 and 17-17.
After Kingsburg gained a 20-17 lead, the Vikings eventually closed it out on an 8-2 run for a 25-19 set win.
“We definitely had a slow start, but I felt like we picked it up once we started [progressing] into the game,” Kingsburg outside hitter Jennah Torres said. “I really felt like we showed what team we were.”
Torres had a team-high 14 kills, 31.8 kill percentage and a 273 hitting percentage against Fowler. The junior’s 14 kills puts her season total to 253, which is first on the team.
The Vikings' 8-2 run in the first set gave Kingsburg momentum that would carry over to the next two sets.
Kingsburg dominated the second and third sets from start to finish and Fowler couldn’t keep with the Vikings. Kingsburg had double digit leads over the Redcats for a majority of both sets.
In the second set, the Vikings had leads of 19-9 and 21-12 before closing it out with a 25-15 set victory. In the third set, Kingsburg’s largest leads were 19-10 and 21-10 before winning the set 25-11.
Kingsburg middle blocker Jessi Sweening said the team’s momentum in the first set was “huge” going into the last two.
“Momentum is huge in volleyball,” Sweening said. “So is a [good] mental state. I felt like we were in a good mental state because we had a good practice [the day before the game].”
In the Division IV quarterfinals, the Vikings hosted No. 7 Liberty on Oct. 30 (after press time).
The Division IV playoffs will continue with the semifinals on Thursday and the title game scheduled to be played on Saturday at College of the Sequoias. The start time for the Division IV championship game has not yet been determined.
Henderson expects a “battle” every time her team will step onto the floor throughout the playoffs.
“I think by having the No. 2 seed you have a target on your back,” Henderson said. “People have seen us play now. They kind of know what we’re capable of and what we can bring. Everybody is playing to survive and so you just have to expect everybody’s best game moving forward.”