Tom Landry would have been proud.
Just as the Dallas Cowboy coach emphasizes the importance of keeping one’s emotions subdued in competition, the Fountain Valley High School girls volleyball squad approaches its game with the same philosophy.
And it was that emotional stability that enabled the Barons to win the final of the Orange County Girls Volleyball championships at Westminster High defeating Laguna Beach, 15-17, 15-12, 15-11, Saturday.
In the first game of the match, which lasted 35 minutes and included 47 changes of service, Fountain Valley relinquished four opportunities to secure the victory. After rallying to tie, the Barons went ahead, 15-14, and seemed to have the momentum.
But the Artists’ Wendy Whiting blocked an attempted Fountain Valley spike to earn the side-out. The Barons returned to game point three more times, but were unsuccessful on each occasion. After giving up their last game point, Laguna Beach finally took control and won three consecutive points to wrap up the opener.
Losing such a game will often completely dissipate a team’s enthusiasm and concentration, but such was not the case with the Barons. In Game 2, they quickly took a 6-0 lead, and weathered a late rally to hang on for the win.
In the final game, Fountain Valley again displayed poise. After exchanging the lead with Laguna Beach for most of the contest, the Barons were trailing, 11-10. But they won the final five points to clinch the title.
“We try to stay real stable,” Fountain Valley Coach Marlon Sano said. “We’re not real up and down.