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Los Amigos girls’ volleyball wins third straight with sweep at Santa Ana

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Los Amigos players congratulate each other after sweeping a nonleague match at Santa Ana on Wednesday.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

The Los Amigos High girls’ volleyball team does not have a returning All-Garden Grove League player.

Middle blockers Breauna McLaine, a first-team selection, and Viviana Huerta, who made the second team, graduated last year.

Behind their front row, however, the Lobos were building. Senior outside hitter Jasmine Torres, junior setter Katie Mai and junior libero Kim Mai, three returning starters for the Lobos, played prominent roles for their team on Wednesday night.

Torres had a match-high 10 kills to go with two service aces, as the visiting Lobos swept Santa Ana 25-18, 25-22, 25-23 in a nonleague match.

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Katie Mai had 14 assists and two aces, while Kim Mai had four assists, two aces and one kill on top of her defensive duties in the back row. The Mai sisters are twins.

Los Amigos improved to 5-3, and its currently riding a three-match winning streak.

“It feels great,” Torres said of team’s recent success.

Torres has the trust of her setter as an option that will make the smart decision, choosing precision over power when she has the opportunity to attack.

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Los Amigos’ Katie Mai, right, battles at the net with Santa Ana’s Alessandra Caldera in a nonleague match on the road Wednesday.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

“When you think of it, you need someone who is consistent,” Katie Mai said. “If I keep setting someone who messes up, then we just go for someone who can hit it over, and that’s Jasmine.”

The Lobos have already won more matches than they did all of last season.

“We’re doing OK, so we’ll see how it goes with league,” Lobos coach Valerie Herndon said. “Our goal is to try to get into the CIF tournament this year.”

Herndon, who has served as head coach for Los Amigos since 2015, has tried to reinforce two ideas with her team this season. She wants her players to play smart, and she also has emphasized that all 12 players on the team are interchangeable.

Contributions off the bench backed that up. Sophomore middle blocker Natalie Tran had five kills over the last two sets.

Junior opposite Jenny Phan had an ace to even the score at 19-19 late in Game 2.

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Los Amigos’ Rocio Castro returns a ball in a nonleague match at Santa Ana on Wednesday.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Junior defensive specialist Rocio Castro also dove for a dig after the ball changed direction off the ceiling in the third set. The Lobos would go on to win the point, extending their lead to 16-9. Santa Ana (7-10) went on a run right after that, winning eight straight points that catapulted the Saints into the lead briefly at 18-17. Gabriela Zavala had five of her team-high seven kills for Santa Ana in the final set.

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Herndon waited until the lead had vanished to call a timeout, giving her players a chance to play through the adversity.

“I’ve talked about it this whole beginning of the season that it takes all 12 of us to play the game and to win the game,” Herndon said. “When you are out there on the court, then it’s your responsibility.

“Those girls that got us the lead are also the ones that started to lose it, so instead of just panicking, I tried to see if they would work themselves out of it and give them a shot.”

Every player saw the court for the Lobos. Senior outside hitter Kayla Onofre had four kills and two aces, and senior middle blocker Denise Vega had three kills.

Kim Mai whole-heartedly agrees with her coach’s mantra that it will take all of them to come through matches successfully.

“We can’t depend on one person,” the junior libero said. “It takes a whole team to win a game, not just one person. We need a pass, a set and then a hit.”

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Los Amigos’ Jasmine Torres keeps a hard hit Santa Ana kill attempt in play in a nonleague match on the road Wednesday.
(Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

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