LA CRESCENTA — The way things went for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ volleyball team in the first two games of Tuesday afternoon’s Pacific League match, a sweep for visiting Arcadia looked to be imminent.
The Falcons still ended up with a 25-14, 25-19, 20-25, 25-23 loss, but had cause to be encouraged after rallying to put the Apaches back on their heels in the last two games.
“We just got out of our heads and worked as a team,” said senior opposite hitter Tiffani Wilcox, who led the Falcons with 13 kills, including four in the third-game win. “Sometimes we function as separate people and we have to pull together. It’s really all about energy, you have to believe you can do it and it will happen.”
After proving they could trade shots with the Apaches (12-2), that’s the thought the Falcons will likely take into their next meeting — in the Nov. 5 regular-season finale — with the reigning league champions, who remained in control of this year’s chase by improving to 7-0 with Tuesday’s win.
“I think it shows the girls that they really are capable of playing at a higher level and better than what they’ve been playing,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jennifer Ryan, whose team dropped to 4-3 in league for third place and 10-4 overall. “I think they’re starting to believe.”
Belief began to build from the start of the third game on, when Crescenta Valley ceased to spare any effort to keep balls alive, making plays, while Arcadia made mostly hitting errors.
Unlike the first two games, in which the Apaches turned the action in their favor early with decisive runs, the third game saw the Falcons stay close until making their own move late.
Senior outside hitter Julia Adams gave the Falcons an 18-16 lead with one of her nine kills on a sideout that preceded her own five-point service run.
That run, which included two aces, put Crescenta Valley on the verge of extending the match with a 23-17 lead.
In a fourth game that featured several gripping rallies, the Falcons came just three points away from taking the match to a fifth game, but faltered with a 22-21 lead, as the Apaches closed out the win on a run capped by a Brittney Lee kill.
“We’ve been working on making sure no ball drops and in the third and fourth game, they started to do that more, so we were getting more balls up,” said Ryan, who got seven kills from Leah Gagliardi and 15 assists from Payton Wheeler. “Our passing was better and we were hitting the ball better and we got some blocks that also helped fire us up.”