Volleyball: Anzar handles Christopher in three sets

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Volleyball

Only a day after Christopher High’s girls volleyball head coach Tom Shatz stepped down, the Cougars were no match for a streaking Anzar team Wednesday in San Juan Bautista.

The Hawks won their third-straight match – all in three-game sweeps – to open the season, while the Cougars fell to 2-5 in the first month of play. Despite losing Mission Trail Most Valuable Player Alex Flores to graduation, the Anzar volleyball team has dominated its opponents under new coach Chloe Goldman.

In three games, the Hawks have yet to lose a set.

“It’s a great start,” Goldman said. “It just goes to show how good these girls are. I think it is sending a message. It’s really hard to just come in and beat people like that. The girls are just really playing well and everything is just connecting.”

After losing its head coach the day before, it was a tough matchup for Christopher. But against a senior-heavy Anzar squad, the Cougars started the match well.

“I saw a lot of heart,” interim head coach Brian Calimpong said. “We came out really solid. The girls started fired up. Near the end, there wasn’t much I could do to change it.”

The first set was a back-and-forth battle. Christopher started strong – taking an early lead – but Anzar quickly gained control of the contest. Behind a strong game from Monica Medina, who finished with two kills, 22 assists and 11 digs, Anzar controlled each serve.

After a slow start, Anzar extended its lead to a 25-20 first-set victory. Christopher didn’t go quietly, though, coming back from a 22-14 deficit to pull within three points before a pair of unforced errors cost the Cougars.

Serving, though, set the Hawks apart throughout the night. Four Hawks, led by Raleigh McKinney’s three aces, finished with at least two aces.

“When you do that you’re not going to lose,” Goldman said. “If we keep serving them tough they can’t run their offense. We just practice so much. I try to put every scenario that could happen. I just think the way we run our offense is why we have started so well.”

That was never more evident than the second-set when Anzar recorded five aces to run away with a 25-9 victory.

“We are playing as a team,” Goldman said. “The system I am running, they fit perfectly in it. That’s why we are doing so well. The things we do in practice are so evident during matches.”

She continued: “We take care of the small things and we don’t let up. If we get a big lead, we are going to keep pushing at them. We continue our lead. It’s taking care of the small things.”

In the final set, Anzar, again, controlled the tempo in a 25-15 victory.

Despite the loss, the match was a good barometer for the growing Christopher squad.

“These girls were taught really well,” Calimpong said. “They are pretty disciplined. I’m really proud of the girls.”

In the loss, Emily Doughty and Cheyanne Dela Merced, each finishing with five kills, led the Cougars. Michelle Toves recorded 11 digs and Alex Gerberick finished with 15 assists.

Anzar’s McKinney finished with a game-high six kills. Josie Lee finished with five kills in the Hawk victory.

Christopher hosted St. Francis on Thursday and will travel to Gonzales at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Anzar will compete in the Watsonville tournament on Saturday.

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