East County Sports

Knights volleyball seeks CIF ranking



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

Daisy Tofili registered 18 kills for Foothills Christian

SANTEE — On Monday, El Capitan proved it was East County’s top girls’ volleyball club with a 4-set decision over Granite Hills in a battle of Top 25 sides. The win broke a deadlock between the teams for the top spot in the Grossmont Hills League.

However, there might be some contention about whether the Vaqueros are absolutely the top ballclub in the region.

On Wednesday (Sept. 28), the Foothills Christian Knights placed their hat in the ring, staving off a late rally by Pacific Ridge to knock off the 24th-ranked Firebirds in five sets to assume the top spot in the Pacific League.

Game scores were 25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 23-25, 15-11 in the match played at West Hills High.

“If Pacific Ridge is truly the 24th then, we are definitely in the top 25,” said Knights head coach Hannah Eriksson-Morr. “It was a hard-fought win.”

The Knights’ Julianna Van Ommering registered a season-high 29 kills to power the upset of No. 24 Pacific Ridge

Senior outside hitter Juliana Van Ommering paced Foothills Christian with a season-high 29 kills, while Daisy Tofili added 18 putaways.

The triumph allowed the Knights (14-4 overall, 4-0 league) to move a half-game ahead of the Firebirds (17-7, 4-1). The triumph also avenged a tournament loss in Mission Bay’s Bucs Bash tournament over the weekend.

Unlike most tournaments, which schedule the semifinals on separate courts and run concurrently, Mission Bay utilized just a single court.

“We needed to play Pacific Ridge for first place directly after beating Mater Dei Catholic in three (3-games-to-2) with no break between,” said the coach. “My girls were so tired while Pacific Ridge had been resting while they watched our game.”

“So I think my girls feel like this was a second chance for them.”

However, it was that easy. After claiming the first two games, Foothills Christian lost its setter.

“One of our setters was sick tonight, but was trying to play through,” added the coach. “In game three, we had to take her out some to rest her when she was in the front row and had one of our backup players go in for her.”

“That lineup change threw us off in game three and we lost it.”

The Knights were not the only ones suffering from the effects of the flu, which is racing through Santee. West Hills was sluggish in a 3-1 loss to Granite Hills, while Santana’s match at El Capitan was postponed completely.

Fortunately for the Knights, setter Amanda Garber returned to the court, directing the offense to a 15-11 .victory-clinching win in the tiebreaker.

“Losing out setter threw off our momentum through game four, but then we came back strong again in game five,” noted Eriksson-Morr. “I told the girls I didn’t care if they won or lost if they would give every ounce of their energy..”

“They did. They really were playing for each other. They also wanted to win this so bad because we just lost to Pacific Ridge for first place in the Bucs’ Bash Tournament.”

Pacific Ridge was paced by junior outside hitter Nicole Patton, who led the club in kills. Other top players include senior Mykelle Brainard and junior Camden Bolane.

The return match in the home-and-home series will be held in Carlsbad on Oct. 21 on the final day of the regular season.

Knights notes
: Roxanne Barlow (now Hamilton), a Granite Hills great from the 1990s, announced she will head the new Foothills Christian boys volleyball program.

Hamilton noted that the ballclub will be instantly competitive.

“Along with a bunch of players from the football team, two of my sons will be playing.”

One son is a 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter, while the star will be Hamilton’s 6-foot-4 freshman at middle blocker.


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