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CV rallies to victory over Sierra
It didn't take long for Central Valley High School's varsity volleyball team to bounce back from its disappointing 25-19, 25-11, 25-22 loss to Ceres High.

Five days removed from being swept by their crosstown rivals, the Hawks responded in resilient fashion on Sept. 29 by beating Sierra (9-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-24) for the first time in seven meetings.

"It was just nice to see the girls celebrate after the game," Central Valley head coach Tauheedah Gaines said. "We know what it feels like to be on the bottom. We're trying to change that."

Alyssa Long turned in her most compete performance as a Hawk. The junior collected 13 kills, 13 digs and five blocks.

Teammates Jenna Mills (nine kills and five blocks), Vicky Ochoa (20 assists), Valerie Uti (10 digs) and Alyssa Meshach (six aces) were also major contributors.

Jaslynn Liotard led the Timberwolves with eight kills, 10 blocks and 14 digs. Modesty Rodriguez had 19 assists. Alysia Atkins collected eight aces.

Central Valley never lost confidence despite dropping the first game of the four-set thriller via blowout.

"It's not like it was handed to us," Gaines said. "We earned it. Our defense was what really held us together. We had some awesome offense too. I finally saw a hunger I've been wanting them to have."

Said Sierra coach Tevani Liotard: "Their girls wanted it more than we did."

Stunning loss for Bulldogs

Ceres High School's varsity volleyball team got off to a great start during its Valley Oak League home match against East Union.

The Bulldogs built what looked to be an insurmountable two-games-to-none lead (25-15, 25-15).

And then it happened. The Lancers pulled off a stunning comeback by taking the final three games (25-23, 25-19, 18-6) Wednesday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Several Ceres High players were in tears following the two-plus-hour marathon match.

"I feel like we got our win stolen from us," Bulldogs standout Kaela Causey said. "It's devastating because we worked so hard. I just think we got a little too big-headed and that's why we lost. They got angry and came back."

Causey amassed 13 assists, six digs, five kills and two aces for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 3-3 in the VOL standings. Jamie Beck had 25 kills and six blocks. Jode Johnson finished with 13 kills, three digs, two aces and one block. Leah Rose and Rachel Nevarez collected nine digs and seven assists, respectively.

Gianna Hedin paced East Union (3-3) with 13 aces. Carmen Haro, Brittney Lamar and Amber Abidi tallied eight assists, six blocks and five kills, respectively.

Ceres High failed to capitalize on match point three times (14-12, 14-13, 16-15) after rallying from a 6-0 deficit in the fifth and decisive game. The Bulldogs also led 22-20 in the third game.

"The girls are upset because they know they should have beat that team," Ceres High head coach Stephanie Hamilton said. "It shouldn't have been that close. Our serve receive is what killed us. The only thing that makes me happy is we get to play them again."

The Bulldogs absorbed another stinging five-game setback. The Lancers completed another dramatic comeback.

Ceres High blew a two-games-to-none lead en route to a 25-23, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-9 loss to Sierra on Wed Sept. 23

East Union rallied for a 15-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-11 victory against Manteca on the same day.

For the second straight week, the Lancers celebrated like they won a championship.

"It made me angry and sad at the same time," Causey said. "But you can't blame them after a win like that."

Ceres High's post-game meeting was brief.

"I didn't have anything to say," Hamilton said. "They know why we lost. There's no need to kick a dead dog when it's down."