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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

Varsity Volleyball Best St.Stephen’s 3-1 in Second Home Game of the Season

Mallory Milner
The Lady Warriors huddle to discuss their strategy for the fourth set of the match. The Lady Warriors ended up winning the set to take the game in four sets.

On Tuesday, Sept. 5, the varsity volleyball team overcame St. Stephen’s Spartans in a tough four-set match. The game played out with the Lady Warriors taking the first set, losing the second in a tough battle, fighting neck and neck in the third, and snagging their hard-earned 3-1 win in the fourth.

“At first we were off to a rocky start, but I think overall we got better as a team,” Olivia Hendricks ‘24 said.

Some notable individual performances include Julia Hopkins ‘24 who led the team in multiple statlines with 20 kills and 22 digs. Jaya Barrientes ‘24 also dominated the match, notching the game winning point and 4 other aces.

The Lady Warriors started the match off strong, gaining an early lead with multiple unique approaches for attacking the net. Although the Spartans were connecting well offensively, the Lady Warriors outpaced them, proving to be dominant in their attacks with cleverly placed hits by Harper Zoll ‘25 and well-timed tips by Hendricks. The ladies won the first set with a comfortable lead, 25-13.

The second set was a stark contrast to their successful first set with both teams struggling to receive serves, sending balls out of bounds or into the net. Routine passes were hitting the floor of the court, and there was a lack of connection between the Lady Warriors. The score remained even for the first half of the set, until the Spartans managed to pull ahead through a series of kills, taking the lead with a score of 16-14. After a brief timeout, the Lady Warriors came back onto the court with a noticeable shift in energy and motivation. With a plethora of blocks by Ava Moncada ‘25, kills by Hopkins, and tips from Hendricks, Westwood eventually caught up to the Spartans. Finally, at set point Kenzie Mcelroy ‘24 hit an impressive line shot past the defense, however the ref called it out, a huge blow for the Lady Warriors. St. Stevens took advantage of the mistake, winning the second set 25-23 and evening the match at 1-1.

“We got complacent after having such a big lead in the first set”,Mcelroy said. “We let off the gas a little and we weren’t pushing as hard as we should have.”

The third set started in a similar fashion — back and forth point scoring, and many simple mistakes that prevented either team from gaining an advantage and taking a lead. The Lady Warriors were setting up good plays, but the majority of their hits were either going out of bounds or being blocked by the Spartan Defense. St.Stephen’s gained the lead due to Westwood’s mistakes, putting them up 15-17, however with the Spartans in the lead, the Lady Warriors stepped up their game, and improved their focus. They began to connect more efficiently, and placed multiple kills past the defense, tying the score at t23-23.The next few points were long, intense rallies that had the whole crowd on their feet showing their support for the Lady Warriors. Every player on the court was fighting hard to keep the ball in play, and capitalize on a mistake by the other team. Finally, with tensions between the teams high, a powerful kill by Hopkins resulted in the Spartans shanking the ball up into the rafters, handing Westwood the third set 28-26.

The beginning of the fourth set was filled with inconsistent gameplay. Although the Lady Warriors were serving and hitting well, their lack of efficiently received serves saw Westwood fall behind the Spartans, however as the game progressed, the Lady Warriors began to settle in and catch up. With the score at 9-9, there was a noticeable shift in the ladies’ attitudes, they began to play far more energetically and competitively. Hopkins sent over numerous kills and tips, racking up points. Additionally, Sahasra “Saucey” Mandalapu ‘25 commanded the defense, thwarting the majority of the other team’s attempts at scoring. The set ended 24-17 with a strong serve by Barrientes, ricocheting off the other team out of bounds, and securing the victory for the Lady Warriors.

“It was really cool to see everybody come together and push for the win,”Mcelroy said. “Our team is pretty new this year, we have a lot of new players, but it’s really cool to see us progress.”

The Lady Warriors next game will be Friday, Sept. 8 at Vandegrift High School, where they will face off against the Vipers, their long-time rivals.

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  • Julia Hopkins ’24 and Ava Moncada ’25 prepare to receive St.Stephen’s incoming serve. The Lady Warriors played a strong game offensively leading them to a 3-1 win.

  • Sahasra “Saucey” Mandalapu ’25 prepares to serve in the third set of the match. Her strong serves lifted the Lady Warriors to a win in the set.

  • Mckenzie Mcelroy ’24 and Ava Moncada ’25 jump at the net together in order to block St.Stephen’s attack. The Warriors strong defense propelled them to the win in a tough match.

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About the Contributor
Mallory Milner, Reporter
Class of 2024 Hi! I am a senior and this is my third year as a reporter for Westwood Horizon. Outside of press I enjoy hanging out with my friends, reading, and spending time outside.

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