WEB FIRST: Lady Jags fall in five sets to Santa Fe

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VALENCIA HIGH outside hitter Dayanna Ilturralde makes a dig against Santa Fe High Tueday night in the Jaguars' season opener.

TOMÉ  – For the first two games against Santa Fe High on Tuesday night, the Valencia High volleyball team played well, winning both games. Then things changed, as the Demonettes roared back, winning three straight games to down the Lady Jags, 3-2 at Valencia High School.

“We woke up the sleeping giant,” said first-year coach Connie Campos, whose team had just played a pre-season scrimmage against Santa Fe the previous weekend. “Their big kids were doing some good things but I think they took it for granted that they had the height advantage. But then they started finding our holes and tipping over our blockers, who are not the size theirs are.”

Valencia (0-1) roared out in both of the first two games, taking early leads then fighting off the Demonettes rallies to win 25-22 and 25-23.

In those games, the Jaguars’ front court tandem of junior Dayanna Illurralde and senior Brenda Baeza both hit well, scoring multiple kills through blocks and well placed shots that seemed to stun Santa Fe.

With the VHS hitters putting the ball down well, senior setter Kendra Pino and libero Brenda Chavez helped the Lady Jags score in bunches in the first two games, mostly with well-timed tips and dinks.

But Santa Fe (3-2) started game three on a 9-2 run. VHS rallied to cut the lead to 15-10 but never got closer as Santa Fe hitters Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage and Hannah Hargrove began to hit big and block even bigger as the Demonettes won game three 25-19.

Santa Fe raced out to a 16-6 lead in the fourth game before winning the game 25-12. A 12-2 start doomed the Jaguars in game five, which Santa Fe won 15-5 to take the match.

“We played well for the first two games and then got a little frustrated on those tips,” said Campos. “But I think overall we did pretty well. We have two maybe three players who played varsity last year, so they’re still learning.”

Kenn Rodriguez of the News-Bulletin can be contacted by email at krodriguez@news-bulletin.com.

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