OXNARD — When the Crescenta Valley High girls’ volleyball team played errorless, it could be argued that the visiting Falcons were more than competitive versus Pacific View League champion Oxnard in Tuesday evening’s first round of the CIF Southern Section Division II-A playoffs.
Unfortunately for Pacific League fourth-place Crescenta Valley, the Falcons just didn’t play much mistake-free volleyball in falling, 25-15, 25-20, 25-16.
“It was the service-receive tonight. We just couldn’t pick up anything,” Falcons Coach Jen Ku Lee said. “We’re a team that needs to kill it because if we get into rallies, we get into trouble. We were just in trouble too much tonight.”
The defeat caps the Falcons’ record at 12-10, while sixth-ranked Oxnard (21-13) advanced to Thursday’s second round.
The victorious Yellowjackets can only hope to match Tuesday’s serving success Thursday, as Oxnard finished with 12 aces versus five service errors.
Oxnard was also the benefactor of numerous Falcons gaffes, as Crescenta Valley committed at least eight mistakes in each game and totaled 27 errors for points overall in the contest.
Crescenta Valley mounted its strongest challenge in the second game despite going down, 18-8, after a kill from senior outside hitter Hope Stewart, who led all players with 16 kills.
Trailing by double digits, the Falcons fought back with a kill from Samantha Rubio (three kills and two blocks) and an ace from Marina Torres that started a 6-0 run for the Falcons, who pulled within 18-14 on an attacking error from Oxnard’s Alexis Schmitz (eight kills).
Yet, just as Crescenta Valley bounced back, the rally quickly crumbled behind two Falcons attacking errors sandwiched in between an ace from Yellowjackets libero Elizabeth Vasquez that put the home team up, 21-14.
Oxnard’s lead eventually ballooned to 23-14 after a block from senior Madison Hall.
Appearing finished, Crescenta Valley again rallied, this time with a 5-0 run to climb within 23-19 after a Yellowjackets error.
However, in what was a frustrating theme for Crescenta Valley, the squad broke its own streak and allowed Oxnard to pull within game-point on another wayward spike attempt that flew well out of bounds.
Two possessions later, the Falcons caught some back luck when a blistering kill attempt from Stewart was brilliantly dug high off a leaping attempt from Falcons libero Rosa Kwok (22 digs).
The ball popped up into the rafters, hit a beam, and crashed directly into the ground for the game-clincher.
“I don’t know what it was tonight, maybe it was nerves,” said Falcons junior outside hitter Micaela Guarino, who finished with six kills, two blocks and one ace. “When we went on those runs, we played as a team. But when we fell apart, it’s because we didn’t stick together.”
The latest Crescenta Valley held a lead came in the first game, when the Falcons pulled ahead, 9-8, after a kill from Katie Sandoval.
Crescenta Valley allowed two quick points before pulling even at 10 on a kill from junior Emmie Walker, who led her team with seven kills.
The back-and-forth nature of the game did not last, though, as Oxnard closed out the victory with an impressive 15-5 run.
As for the third game, errors put the Falcons in a big hole.
Crescenta Valley raced out to a 7-5 advantage, but aided a Yellowjackets 7-0 run with four errors in falling behind, 12-7, and not recovering.
“I think the good thing is that most of this team is coming back. We made some errors today and didn’t play good defense,” Walker said. “That’s something to learn from and to build on going into next season.”