Esperanza shows growth in win over Whittier Christian


One night after his team dropped a five-set match, Esperanza girls volleyball coach Isaac Owens saw his team take a step in the right direction against Whittier Christian.

The Aztecs, who are ranked fourth in the est CIF-SS Division 2AA poll, overcame some struggles in the match, but were able to defeat the host Heralds, 25-22, 12-25, 25-14, 25-18, in a nonleague match Thursday.

Whittier Christian is ranked eighth in Division 2AA.

“This was a good win,” Owens said. “Any win is good, especially for us. We’re still young in some spots (on the court), and the more we play, the better we’re getting.

“I think we’ve played our best volleyball this year, so we have to learn, and I think tonight was a very good learning experience.”

Avery Stowell led the balanced Aztecs attack with 12 kills. Gina Lipscomb and Karissa Davis had 11 and 10, respectively. Setter Jessica Streuer had 47 assists.

The match had moments of wild momentum swings.

In the second set, the Heralds dominated from the early stages for the one-sided victory.

The Aztecs opened the third set by scoring eight consecutive points and led 15-3. The Heralds fought their way back to 17-13, but the Aztecs regrouped to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

“We kind of let up a little bit in the second set,” Davis said. “We weren’t as fired up as we were in the first game, but in the third set we came back and we getting excited on every single point.”

Mandy Sides led the Heralds with 11 kills.

“This was a test we needed to see where some of the things we need to get better at,” Morrison said. “We thought we could compete with them a little better, but to their credit they turned it on at the right moment.

“Going forward, I think we’re in good shape. We have a tough league that we have to be prepared for so we have to be more disciplined in a few areas.”

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