HANFORD — The volleyball match was another forgettable result in a recent string of losses for the Huskies, but the moments before the Central Sequoia League contest were more than memorable.
Hanford West (11-14, 0-10 CSL) lost 3-0 to Exeter (23-14, 8-2 CSL) on Wednesday at home, but what mattered the most was Senior Night.
Before the match began, the Huskies honored Laura Denham, Aissa Perico and Analice Ramirez as their three seniors. All three were accompanied by family members, friends and teammates. The trio had statements read thanking their loved ones and described various things they were grateful for.
“The game, of course, was bad, but I loved it,” Perico, a three-year varsity player, said. “I’ve been here for four years and it’s just super sad, but I loved it, the whole thing.”
Denham shared a similar sentiment.
“It was definitely really sad,” Denham said. “My grandma walked in and started crying so, of course, I started crying.”
Hanford West coach Aimee Ladd had trouble holding back tears when she discussed her three seniors. Ladd’s coached Denham and Perico on-and-off since sixth and eighth grade, respectively. She’s known Ramirez for four years and got to coach her the last two seasons.
“[Ramirez] brings a spunk she brings this wild energy to the group, Aissa brings this determination this passion for the ball and Laura brings this wealth of wanting to learn how to be a better player,” Ladd said.
Coincidentally, it was also Ladd’s last game with the team. Her husband has received military orders for Atsugi in Japan.
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“I’ve learned a lot from the girls, I’ve learned a lot on the other side of coaching,” Ladd said. “Running a program is definitely a learning experience. It gives a great respect for those at the higher level.”
The Huskies came out strong and full of energy to start the match. They challenged the second-place Monarchs in a back-and-forth first set.
The Huskies grabbed an 8-5 lead before the Monarchs grabbed a 12-10 lead. The Huskies responded with a 3-0 spurt to regain the lead and eventually led 16-15.
It was one of the final times the Huskies led as the Monarchs closed the set on a 10-1 run to take a 1-0 lead.
“I definitely believe that we lost momentum and as libero I can definitely say that the passing could’ve been better,” Denham said. “I’m supposed to take control of the back row so I don’t think I did that as well.”
The second and third set didn’t last long with Hanford West losing 25-7 and 25-11. Momentum was gone and the team struggled to string points together. After the first set, the Huskies scored consecutive points twice with both instances coming in the third set.
“We had the drive and I think that’s what we lose throughout our games because when we get to set two you see it, it’s gone,” Perico said. “And that’s why we lose by great amounts because the drive is gone, the energy and we dig holes.”
Hanford West will conclude the season with a road match against Immanuel (18-9, 3-6 CSL). Hanford West lost to Immanuel 3-0 on Sept. 25.
“We do have one more game left away so we’re hoping maybe we can go out with a win,” Denham said.