Girls volleyball lock down their first home game win of the preseason

Mia Lara (’18) tipping over University High defenders for a point. Photo by Vinh Nguyen.

By Suzane Jlelati & Lindsey Nguyen, Staff Writers

In their first home game, Fountain Valley High School’s girls volleyball varsity team went up against the University Trojans with an anxiously awaited winning score of 3-2.

The start of the first game was rocky, but things took a turn for the better after Phoebe Minch (‘20), a co captain as a sophomore, made the University girls scramble for her hit.

“Mia is also captain, so it’s not so much pressure on me as we all work together and other seniors take on the leadership too,” said Minch.

The pace picked up and the score became neck and neck. With a missed serve from the Fountain Valley side, the determination for the point rose. Minch jumped up and swung at the ball, and gave the Lady Barons three more points at the end of her hitting streak. Lexi Geltman (‘18) also got some determined touches as she hit corners out of reach to the University girls. With a heaping amount of effort and determination, Fountain Valley lost their first match 19-25.

“[For CIF] We have the toughest league in southern California but with that being said, I think we can do well as long as we have a good pre season record, I think we can make it into CIF,” said Coach Olbright.

Taking into account that the second set meant a clean slate, Alex Brooks (‘18) slyly tipped over the block and scored the first point. This raised the crowd’s spirits as they chanted, pumping up the energy one voice crack at a time. Points were made back and forth, constantly with aces and hits going left and right. Rallies upon rallies left viewers on the edge of the bleachers. Fountain Valley eventually took the lead with swings by Minch and saves by Jenelle Valencia (‘19) and Serena Hom (‘20). A game point ace made by Minch left the score 25-16.

Similarly to the first set, things started a little slow but when the score became 0-4, Fountain Valley knew they needed a game changer. Mia Lara (‘18) swung cross court and earned her team a point. Viewers sensed the player’s mood rise as downballs are being dug up and hits became more consistent. Geltman and Jenna Everson (‘18) began to swing in the middle and blocked University’s swings. The game is 12-12 when Lara hit angle with good contact. The crowd went wild and fans could be seen jumping off the bleachers in joy. The winning point was scored by Emily Yanigihara (‘19) as her hit fell right in front of the University blockers.

In what could be the final set, points went back and forth until the score was 6-6. Fountain Valley took the lead until a missed serve and a tip to area one killed their streak. The Lady Barons slowly began to fall behind in points. With great attempts to salvage the score, Fountain Valley, unfortunately, lost by the score of 22-25.

With both crowd and players anxiously awaiting the final set, Fountain Valley set the momentum up and scored the first point but the Trojans scored right back, unwilling to lose the final set. Minch made multiple strong spikes right after the other, but University kept the score tied throughout the beginning of the set. Good blocks were made by Geltman, Everson and Brooks, who received points on both occasions. Match point at 14-10, University scored one last point before … Peterson (‘20) hit the ball that bounced off the net and made the Trojans unable to save it. The game ended with a 15-11 Barons win with cheers coming from both the girls and the audience.

“The first set we started off a little slow, some people were nervous but I think after that we had a lot of energy and we really fought hard in the last four matches. I think I did personally well and I think everyone really worked together and we played amazing defense which allowed us to put the ball away,” said Minch.