Gaels zeroing in on league

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE — Coming off a five-game win over Alverno on Thursday that allowed it to pull into a first-place tie in the Horizon League with the Jaguars, the Holy Family volleyball team began to play out the string of its two remaining league matches Tuesday night against Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Pacific Park Community Center.

And while nothing that remains on the schedule figures to match the intensity of a matchup with Alverno, the Gaels are still very much locked in a race to the finish with the Jaguars even as they were handily dispatching the Comets, 25-13, 25-12, 25-15.

"It was a good solid match," said Holy Family Coach Robert Bringas, whose team improved to 13-8-3 and 6-1 in league. "I just think they were ready for tonight and came out to play. Good things happen when they're ready to come out and play."

Following a brief senior night ceremony, the Gaels promptly came out and lost the first three points of the match before falling behind, 5-1. Once Holy Family battled back to take an 8-7 lead, however, it went on a 9-1 run and never looked back.

Most of the damage came during a six-point service run by co-captain Ashlee Sandoval, who put down a pair of aces during the run, which also included two kills from Shanelle Agito. Libero Alicia Marquez served up back-to-back aces to give Holy Family a 17-8 lead.

"I think we were just too excited and overwhelmed with senior night and we didn't come out to our best ability," Marquez said. "We have way more potential that we showed in the Alverno game, but I feel we didn't give it all we had [Tuesday]. We won, that's what mattered. â€ĶI think, overall, we still gave it a good game. We took the win and that's what we needed the most."

The Gaels got off to a completely opposite start in the second game, roaring out to a 7-2 lead before getting caught up in a back-and-forth with the Comets (2-6-1, 2-4), who kept the lead within the five-seven point range throughout the middle of the game. Sandoval finished off the win with another five point run on her serve.

"We wanted to come out strong and do our best, as we have been all this time," setter Alexa Sandoval said. "We do what we can, but sometimes we do get down, so when one person's down, that's when we try to pick everyone up."

Holy Family surged off to another strong start in the clincher, leading, 13-4, early and finishing off the stanza with a double-digit margin of victory.

Holy Family, which is currently ranked 10th in CIF Southern Section Division 4-A, finishes off the regular season with a league match against host San Gabriel Mission on Thursday. A win would guarantee the Gaels at least a share of the league crown, but, of course, Holy Family will be hoping for the Jaguars, ranked ninth in the division, to slip up in one of their remaining matches against Bishop Conaty-Loretto on Thursday and Sacred Heart on Nov. 1 and hand the title to the Gaels outright.

"Alverno's a great team, we're a great team and we're just excited to get into the playoffs and do some damage," Bringas said. "It's just one game at a time, everything else has got to maintain itself. [We've] got to come ready to play. [Against Mission] they're going to have to come out focused and ready to go."

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