The league wins keep on coming for the Salinas High girls volleyball team. The team’s latest sealed up the 2013 Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division title.
In front of a loud and packed Notre Dame gym, the Cowboys defeated the host Spirits 25-19, 25-17, 25-23 on Tuesday night to seal up the division title.
Salinas, which improved to 11-0 in the division, also extended its league unbeaten streak to 40 wins in a row.
But it looked like Notre Dame was going to extend the match just a little bit longer.
There were 13 ties in the third set. A kill by Notre Dame’s Nikki DeSerpa gave Notre Dame a 14-13 lead. Salinas responded with a kill by Maddy Mandon, and the Cowboys quickly put together four consecutive points to take a 17-14 advantage.
In the four-point spurt, Raleigh McKinney won a 50-50 ball, and Madi Griffin served an ace. The run seemed to quiet the crowd just a little bit. Salinas continued to hold off Notre Dame, eventually building a 21-16 lead with a kill by Emily Cook.
But Notre Dame then found a spark. Jen Lane fired in a kill to stop Salinas’ momentum and close Notre Dame’s deficit to 21-17. Aireal Rivera-Sakasegawa followed up with an ace, and the Notre Dame faithful grew louder in support. Notre Dame took advantage of three Salinas errors and pulled even at 21-21.
The teams traded points, and then Salinas retook the lead at 23-22 on a Notre Dame error. Erin Reineking served an ace to put Salinas on the brink. A kill by Cook finished the contest.
Salinas High coach Andy Mandon said he didn’t want his team to think the third set was the be all, end all.
“I wanted them to focus on the way they played the first game,” Mandon said.
Maddy Mandon had 10 kills, Cook had 15 kills, Reineking had 35 assists and Griffin had 17 digs. Mandon, Cook and Griffin are all seniors, which coach Mandon said was a bonus in the team winning the division title.
“It’s important to do it for the seniors who work hard every year,” coach Mandon said.
Notre Dame coach Katie Harreld praised her team for not backing down in the third set, but she mentioned being a little disappointed in the first two sets.
“Game three, we relaxed and played our game,” Harreld said.
Salinas and Notre Dame were even at times in the first two sets.
In the first set, Notre Dame led 15-14 when Raleigh McKinney fired an outside kill to tie the set. Salinas suddenly started pulling away, playing defense on Notre Dame’s outside attackers, to build a 22017 advantage.
At 11-11 in the second set, Cook got a kill to give Salinas the lead. Salinas spent the rest of the game not letting Notre Dame grab the lead. Salinas led 17-15 when it ran off five consecutive points to virtually put the set out of reach.
For Notre Dame, Emily Cunanan and Nikki DeSerpa each had eight kills, Erin DeSerpa had 22 assists and Rivera-Sakasegawa had 16 digs.
Both teams have one match left. Notre Dame travels to Hollister on Thursday.
“Hopefully they learned the hard lesson from tonight because Hollister will be a tough game,” Harreld said. “We also have to get ready and gear up for the (Central Coast Section) playoffs.”
Salinas will try to wrap up an undefeated league campaign Thursday at home against Watsonville.