Gaels set on league title run

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — There's a checklist of accomplishments being closely monitored by the members of the Holy Family volleyball team.

That's led to the bar being raised even higher for the Gaels, who are looking at winning an Horizon League championship and a return appearance to the CIF playoffs in November.

"We have the talent and there might be an opportunity to win league this year," Holy Family Coach Robert Bringas said after the Gaels cruised to a 25-16, 25-13, 25-18 league victory against L.A. Sacred Heart of Jesus on Tuesday afternoon at the Pacific Park Community Center. "We still have to stay disciplined and always keep our heads in the game.

"The expectations are very high and we will play in some tournaments which will also help us improve more."

Alverno won the league crown last season, but Holy Family (6-4 and 2-0 in league) tamed the Jaguars on Thursday with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-20 road win.

Holy Family junior outside hitter Ashlee Sandoval, who helped the Gaels reach the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4-A playoffs last season under then-Coach James Jimenez, said Holy Family came out Tuesday seeking to avoid a letdown against Sacred Heart of Jesus (1-3, 0-1).

"We are really trying hard and we are going to have some mistakes out there," said Sandoval, who finished with five kills and 12 digs. "We knew that we were going to have to pick each other up.

"All of our hits were in and our passes were there. I think we have a real good shot at getting back to the playoffs and even winning league."

Sandoval had three kills in the first game and her digging paved the way for the Gaels, who received 19 assists from senior setter Rebecca Sanchez and nine kills and four digs from junior opposite hitter Aurora Aguirre. Sandoval's first kill tied the game at 10 before her next one gave the Gaels a 15-10 advantage.

Holy Family had little difficulty in the second game, as it rattled off eight points in a row to take an 8-2 lead. Sanchez had three aces in that stretch. The Gaels then used another 8-0 run to extend their lead to 17-6.

In the third game, Holy Family ripped off six consecutive points to take a 6-1 lead. A kill by Sandoval made it 12-5. The Comets closed to within 22-16 on an ace by setter Alexis Rodriguez, but the Gaels received an ace from senior middle blocker Valerie Dominguez to complete the sweep.

"With our serving, we were very aggressive," Bringas said. "We've been able to improve on it and we are clicking a lot better between our setter and hitters."

Holy Family will next participate at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Bishop Conaty-Loretto in a league match at Pacific Park Community Center.

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