The La Quinta High School volleyball team stayed in the hunt for a prime playoff position with Tuesday night’s 25-20, 26-24, 25-22 triumph against Xavier Prep.
The Blackhawks are chasing unbeaten Palm Springs and have a key clash with once-beaten Palm Desert next week. With a Desert Valley League mark of 7-3, the Blackhawks needed a complete team performance to get past the Saints and got that. Xavier is also looking for a postseason berth, and at 4-5 in DVL, it needs to close out strong.
La Quinta gave the Saints a little wiggle room, but kept control through many of the points.
With Game 1 knotted at 7-7, it was all La Quinta from there. The Saints made a push at the end, but the Blackhawks stood strong.
“We just gotta keep our attitude,” said senior Kendyl Scott, who led La Quinta with 10 digs. “We got to want to want it. We’ve just gotta be sure we have each other’s backs. That’s the key.”
Behind another stellar performance from Kaelyn Brock (10 kills, eight digs, two blocks, two aces), Julie Navarro, Brielle Weimer and Ciara Reistad, the Blackhawks were able to hold on despite a couple of momentum swings in Game 2.
Xavier Prep took a 16-15 lead midway through and the two teams battled back and forth. Xavier stayed toe to toe with La Quinta’s front row while the Saints’ Amanda Bolanos (13 digs), Alix Dreier (13 kills, four solo blocks) and Gabby Halcovich (four kills) evened it again at 24-all. However, Jacqueline Millerd and Annmarie Magnus stepped up for La Quinta to close it out. The ‘Hawks also had key play from Hannah La Liberte and Madison Barnes.
“We just didn’t play smart on some of the plays,” said Navarro, who finished with five kills, a block and three aces. “We just needed to manage the sideouts and trust each other.”
La Quinta controlled Game 3 with Kyrsti Photias (12 assists) and Reistad (five kills, two aces) on serve and the ‘Hawks surged to 19-12 before the Saints chipped away. Despite big points from Dreier and assists from Michele Johnston and Cassidy La Salle, the Saints couldn’t overcome the deficit. The Saints also had a solid effort from Kate Stenmoen and Angelica Sayo (nine combined kills).
“It was close, but we just gotta play our game,” said Saints coach Jacqui Tricco. “We’ve come a long way, but they still have a lot of fight for.”