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May 25, 2022

VOLLEYBALL: Gavilan sweeps a pair of matches

There’s nothing like a home court advantage to get a little momentum going.

As hosts, the Gavilan women’s volleyball team won a pair of matches in straight sets at the Gavilan College Classic tournament Friday in Gilroy.

The 25-8, 25-18, 25-10 win over Alan Hancock and 25-11, 25-22, 25-18 win over Taft College move the Rams back to a .500 preseason record (5-5).

“It was by far the best we have played all year,” said Gavilan coach Kevin Kramer. “It was the first time we did what we have been working on collectively across the board. Good things happen when you follow the game plan. Our game plan was to go to the outside often then sneak one in the middle. Sometimes we’ll go to the middle first depending on the matchup with the other team.”

That game plan was made easy with the balanced front line attack of Eva Poulikaeeva (13 kills), Jessica Stofer (eight kills), Kayce Skocko (eight kills), Adreinna Castaneda (five kills) and Tasmin Apple (four kills).

“That is the nice thing about this team that we haven’t had in the past,” Kramer said. “On any given night any one of them can take over. They might not put up 20, 25 kills like in the past. That makes it hard to play against us.”

But it wasn’t all about the game plan for the Rams.

“The first game we worked on taking advantage of the opportunities we got,” Kramer said. “Then against Taft we were talking about focus and not so much about the X’s and O’s.”

The Rams had both a solid offensive and defensive match led by setter Sabina Gerard with 35 assists.

“We were talking, and the communication was good,” Stofer said. “The whole team was pumped up, cheering from the bench. Everything just clicked.”

The Rams, who were ranked 24th in the state, used a balanced attack in the win over Taft (7-3) – the 23rd ranked team.

“It was one our best games,” said Gavilan libero Kayondra Hood. “Our energy was up in the last game. The hard work is starting to pay off. They were one of the teams we needed to beat.”

Gavilan jumped out to a quick lead in the first set against Taft, taking control right from the start. The Rams were briefly behind early in the second and third sets, but the Cougars never led after that initial surge even though they rallied in the second to tie the score several times.

Midway through the second set, Skocko had an ace to put the Rams up 9-8 and force the Cougars to call timeout. It was all Rams after that.

“Our service-receiving was on point,” Skocko said. “We really meshed well together. We have been doing that a lot with this team. Everyone has come together on the court.”

Friday’s Rams Classic was the third of four tournaments Gavilan will host this year. The Rams travel to Sacramento City on Wednesday before returning home to host College of the Siskiyous and Santa Rosa Sept. 22. Hancock, Taft and Gavilan take turns holding the annual tournaments.

“It worked out that it was our turn this time,” Kramer said. “Next year we will probably be on the road more. It has been a lot of work. I’m ready for a night game. A lot of the kids haven’t played here before, but it is a great place to play in front of a crowd.”

Taft defeated Hancock 25-20, 20-11, 20-11 in the second game of the day.

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