It was the second five-set loss to the Cardinals this season, the first coming September 19.
On Tuesday, the evenly-matched teams battled to a 25-21, 14-25, 25-21, 13-25, 15-11 match in favor of the Cardinals.
“I think we just lost our mental toughness at the end, and lost the last few points,” said senior captain Mikayla Fish. “Hopefully we can bounce back on Thursday.”
The team played Harbor High School after press-time on Thursday, Oct. 17.
With captain Seryna Tapuloa sitting with an injured ankle, Fish led the team with 11 kills, followed by Amber Bothman with eight and Juliana Sudfeld with six.
Fish, Bothman and Sudfeld each served three aces and Bothman was an imposing presence at the net with six blocks.
“We were really focusing on being aggressive,” Bothman said. “We have been working on blocking and defense in practice, and I think the practice showed, somewhat.”
The teams traded games, Santa Cruz winning the first and third games by tight scores, and Scotts Valley easily winning the second and fourth games. In the fourth game, especially, the Falcons were dominant, as setter Megan Lonhart served the first five points to go up 5-0 and after a side out, Fish serving 10 straight points for a 15-1 lead. The Falcons coasted to the 25-13 victory in that game.
In the fifth, tiebreaker set, the Falcons were up 10-8 before Santa Cruz rallied back with a combination of kills, tip shots and Scotts Valley errors to win the match.
“Our energy was low in the games we lost,” Bothman said.
Lonhart finished the game with 29 sets to lead the team.
First-year head coach Treva Crocker was disappointed with the tightly-contested loss.
“We just had some technical errors that we could have picked up on,” Crocker said. “Thankfully those are easy to fix.”
Crocker said her focus as a first-year head coach has been on teamwork.
“My biggest thing is connecting and sisterhood,” Crocker said. “I’ve definitely seen some improvements there.”
Fish has seen similar improvement.
“I love the girls,” Fish said. “We have a really young team and it’s been really neat seeing them improve their skills.”
After Thursday’s tilt with Harbor, the team has four regular season SCCAL games remaining before the league tournament, scheduled for November 4 through 8. The Falcons are also in the hunt for a berth to the Central Coast Section playoffs.
“Last year we made CCS, and we’re doing pretty much the same this year,” Bothman said. “Hopefully we make it.”
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