Girls Volleyball: Poly Stuns Westridge in Prep League Thriller

If Tuesday’s Prep League girls volleyball game was played on paper, Westridge would have walked over visiting Poly in three quick sets. But the great thing about sports is they play out the games and sometimes surprising results ensue. Poly not only hung in with first-place Westridge, the Panthers defeated the Tigers, 27-25, 24-26, 19-25, […]

If Tuesday’s Prep League girls volleyball game was played on paper, Westridge would have walked over visiting Poly in three quick sets.

But the great thing about sports is they play out the games and sometimes surprising results ensue.

Poly not only hung in with first-place Westridge, the Panthers defeated the Tigers, 27-25, 24-26, 19-25, 25-23 and 15-11 to the major surprise of players and fans of both sides.

Poly (7-4 overall, 2-0 in league) had early leads in the first four sets, but fell behind early in the fifth and deciding set.

But Poly, behind freshman Ella Mao, bent but never broke and now finds itself in first place with Chadwick.

Mao had 12 kills, 21 assists and 6 aces, while Halston Harper chipped in with 9 kills, 6 blocks and 5 aces for the Panthers.

“We had a lot of energy and started off well, and against a great team like Westridge, you have to give it your all from the very beginning,” Ella Mao said. “Going into this, we weren’t expecting to win, but since we did, we think we can accomplish bigger things.”

Allison Martinez, who missed a few league matches while representing the U.S. in Puerto Rico was back for Westridge and was dominant.

Martinez had a match-high 21 kills and 10 digs.

Eryn Boken had 12 kills and 6 blocks for the Tigers.

“Our girls expected a different outcome, but give Poly a lot of credit, because they played with a lot of heart,” Westridge coach Otto Lacayo said. “We had a lot of unforced errors and hit the ball right at defenders. The Mao sisters really played well and they (Poly) fought throughout.”

Natalie Clark and Alexis Pappachan combined for 17 kills and Zoey Mao added 3 kills and 30 assists for the Panthers.

“Wow! This was fun,” Poly coach Steve Beerman said. “We served-received well and it felt like we played to win instead of playing not to lose. These girls are really stepping up to challenges. We really grew up today.”

Westridge (10-2, 3-1) got 17 digs from Krystal Raymundo, and Angelica Raymundo chipped in with 3 aces.

Poly continues Prep League play Thursday at Firebaugh, and Westridge looks to get back on track Friday at Chadwick.

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