SANGER – Plenty went on in a brief two-hour window for the Sanger West Hornets, who continued to improve their 2023 record as the prep volleyball campaign closes in on the postseason.
Playing in front of dozens of uniformed future players from their Sanger Unified School District feeder elementary schools and numerous pink-clad supporters of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Hornets made quick work of visiting McLane High on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Sanger West gym.
The 25-9, 25-16 and 25-18 sweep of last place Highlanders improved SW’s season record to 24-7, and 9-2 in North Yosemite League to keep the team firmly entrenched in second place.
“It was a great night in the Hive Gym,” said SW head coach Marissa Taff. “We love the energy that our Sanger West community brought for our ‘Build the Hive’ and ‘Pink Out’ match. It was a special opportunity being able to compete in front of our future Hornets from our elementary feeder sites in addition to our families and friends.”
The SW players didn’t disappoint the fans in attendance, quickly displaying their dominance at the net from senior middle blocker Aubrey Pulido and more efficient play cruise to an opening set rout and then building a 10-point advantage in the second set before McLane (2-23-1, 0-10) had a run of good serving and SW errors to pull within three points.
But the Hornets steadied themselves, getting a pair of kills from sophomore outside hitter Elizabeth Salcedo to pull away for the second set win. That enabled players from four SUSD elementary schools to take the floor between the second and third sets to put on a brief setting and hitting demonstration and pose for a group shot with their mentors.
Taff then had the opportunity to substitute in reserve players throughout the team bench to gain important match experience during a competitive third set, and the hosts finished off the sweep with a closing 10-2 run. Pulido, who’s established herself as one of the NYL’s premier players, collected a pair of stuff blocks at the net while defensive specialist Jenna Xiong and libero Vanessa Villavicencio had stretches of strong serving.
Pulido finished the match with five kills and four blocks, Salcedo had a team-high six kills and Villavicencio collected 15 digs. Another veteran, senior setter Melanie Fang, dished off 15 assists and was solid defensively with 11 digs.
In addition to the Build the Hive match theme, junior varsity players and supporters during the varsity match wore pink shirts in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Sanger West, on pace for a higher Division IV playoff seed, has two of three remaining NYL matches on the road. The final home contest is Tuesday, Oct. 17, against Matilda Torres High from Madera.
“I’m proud of our girls for their hard work on and off the court to become the program that we are today,” Taff said. “I’m looking forward to honoring our first senior class in school history, and finishing strong with our final week of league play.”