Ceres High School's varsity volleyball team drew first blood as it won the opening set 25-22 during its crosstown meeting versus Central Valley last week.
Unable to compete after rolling her left ankle in the second set, Ryleigh Honberger watched helplessly from the bench as the Bulldogs struggled to compete with Hawks.
The Hawks swept the next three sets on their way to coasting to a 22-25, 25-8, 25-10, 25-15 victory over Ceres High on Sept. 30 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
"It was really hard not being out there," said Honberger, a second-team all-Western Athletic Conference selection in 2013. "I felt like I let my team down. I couldn't contribute. I got really emotional."
Central Valley improved to 3-1 in the WAC standings.
Ceres High dropped to 0-5 in league play.
"We really try to make volleyball a big thing at our school," said Ellysa Widas, a first-year varsity player with the Hawks. "We're trying to go to playoffs so we're well known."
Widas led the Hawks with 25 assists.
Julia Ramsey accumulated 13 kills, six digs, two blocks, two aces and one assist.
Lynaya Lerma tallied eight blocks, one kill, one dig and one ace.
Alyssa Costa had six kills.
Darian Robinson chipped in with six kills.
Ally Hailey led the Bulldogs with 16 digs.
Kendall Meyer tallied 11 blocks.
Cameron Diaz collected eight assists and two aces.
Valerie Hamilton had two aces.
"I had to throw girls in a rotation they're not familiar with," Bulldogs head coach Stephanie Hamilton said. "I really think it would have gone five with our full team."
It didn't take Central Valley long to seize the momentum following Ceres High's opening-set victory.
Ceres High trailed 6-4 when Honberger exited the contest.
The Hawks outscored the Bulldogs 19-4 the rest of the way.
Ryleigh re-aggravated an injury that sidelined her during the Livingston and El Capitan matches.
"It's the second time she's gotten hurt this season," Hamilton said. "It's a huge loss. We need all of our team members. Ryleigh is the co-captain for a reason. She's a hard worker. She's a good all-round player. She keeps the team's spirits up."
"Injuries happen all the time," Widas said. "The crowd got really quiet on Ceres High's side. I would feel down if we lost one of our best players. I still feel like they played their hardest."
"You don't wish that upon anybody," Central Valley head coach Kelly Heese said. "She's their best player. I hope she's up and running soon."
The much-anticipated rematch will take place at Central Valley on Oct. 23.
The match will get underway at 6:30 p.m.
"Clearly, we're a stronger team," Heese said. "They've definitely improved. Ceres is scrappy. The key to winning a match is playing structured volleyball. When we pass, set and hit the ball, we're tough to shut down."
"We proved we can beat them with our whole team," Hamilton said.