Girls’ Volleyball Falls Short to Westridge


Photo courtesy Valentina Martinez

The girls’ volleyball team huddles during the match.

If you were to use one word to describe the 2018 Rebels volleyball team, it would be relentless. Although the girls lost their first league game to Westridge – a notoriously prominent school in the Prep League – they managed to stay neck-and-neck with their opponent three of the four sets on August 23.

The key to winning the match was endurance; which team would last the longest after each set being such a close struggle? Westridge was the team to pull through, beating the Rebels 25-16. Prep’s fatigue was on display during the final set when the Tigers were ahead by ten points – the biggest lead of the match.

The Rebels had multiple hitters on the leaderboard throughout the match, starting with outside hitter Jada Gritton ’20 with a total of 10 kills, Libby Penn ’19 came up right behind Gritton with 9 kills, and middle hitters Kaitlyn Chen ’20 and Chloe Chanren produced a combined total of 9 kills. “Gritton and Penn are put down the ball hitters who know the game,” said setter Ani Bernardi ’20 on Prep’s top offensive scorers.

Girls’ Volleyball team gets ready for their game against Westridge. Photo Courtesy Valentina Martinez.

Unlike the Rebels, the Tigers had one dominant hitter instead of multiple, outside hitter Nicole Gibbs who produced a whopping total of 19 kills. None of Gibbs’ teammates were able to come close to her. As the second top scorer, outside hitter Krystal Raymundo had 5 kills for Westridge.

Westridge won the first set 27-25 by a serving ace from passer Dalia Rizkana along with miscommunication between the Rebels during the final points of the game. Prep’s junior middle blocker, Chen, got a kill right behind the ten-foot line making the score 25-24. The Rebels, however, lost momentum and were unable to come out of the first set with a win.

With a little security following their win from the first set, the Tigers let down their guard for a short time allowing Prep to win by a close score of 25-23 in the second set. Most likely due to both teams’ early-season rustiness, the final points of the set were back-to-back serving errors. At 24-22, middle blocker Chanren served the ball into the net and the Tigers’ right side hitter Kathleen Chen ended the set with yet another serving error.

Throughout the third set, both teams never let their opponent lead by more than two points but the Rebels had run out of opportunities to get ahead, ending with a score of 23-25. Kathleen Chen hit the ball into the block at gamepoint, but the Rebels were unable to keep the play going after the touch off the block.

Last season, the Rebels lost to Westridge twice: one match in three sets at the beginning of league play and the other in four sets later in the season. Although the team lost again this season, it was already an improvement from last year due to Prep’s ability to take one set off of Westridge so early on in the season, in addition to keeping the scores so close.

The Rebels began practice in mid-August and had a swift start into their season playing Temple City High on August 21. The girls’ easily won their non-conference match but, according to junior setter Bernardi, it was a difficult transition from playing Temple City High to competing against Westridge within a matter of days.