San Mateo outlasts Moorpark in marathon, 5-set state women's volleyball quarterfinal

(Jon Marley, CCCAA)
(Jon Marley, CCCAA)

Updated Records: San Mateo (23-3) v. Moorpark (18-5)
Moorpark is eliminated and finishes in a tie for 5th place at state

(FRESNO) -- A program that began from the ground floor brand new in 2016 has now advanced to the semifinals as North #4 seed College of San Mateo is making the most of its first trip to the CCCAA State Women's Volleyball Championships by rallying to defeat South #1 Moorpark, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25, 25-19, 15-7. The epic quarterfinal lasted 2 hours, 25 minutes. 

The Coast Conference North Division champion Bulldogs extended their win streak to 18 matches and are a perfect 4-0 in 5-set matches this year. Moorpark, the South's original #3 seed, took over the region's top spot going into the tournament by virtue of upsets to #1 Ventura and #2 Irvine Valley in the regional finals. The Raiders used a tremendous net block to frustrate San Mateo and held a 2-1 sets lead before CSM mounted a comeback.

In the fifth set, the teams traded a number of long rallies and six ties to be knotted at 7-7. At that point, San Mateo's Rachel Bullard scored just her second kill of the match for the lead. Zooey Walsworth took advantage of the sideout and the change of sides by serving a 7-0 run to close out the match. She served an ace at 12-7 and was aided by kills by Naomie Cremoux and Grace Thayer. 

Cremoux had an exhausting morning, taking 71 swings, the second-highest total in state tournament history*, but landing a match-high 23 kills (plus 17 digs). Tui Saluni added 14 kills and 19 digs, Valerie Bruk totaled 12 kills (hit .379) with five blocks, and Walsworth had three aces, and Ashley Chacon made 22 digs. For Moorpark, Cashe Olswang powered 14 kills, Angelina Estrada dished out 48 assists, Tyler Mobley had 10 kills and 16 digs, Ryann Gaglio 10 kills, Makenna Majus served four aces and added 10 digs while Larissa Dakoske made 21 digs.

"One thing about this team is our resilience," said San Mateo head coach Katie Goldhahn. "Moorpark is a scrappy team and they seemed to get in between our seams. We didn't have our best offensive match and statistically we didn't have good numbers (32 attack errors, .144 attack percentage), but we found a way to come back. We made some adjustments between the third and fourth sets to get our outsides more involved. I think our defense stepped up when we needed it later in the match."

In the fourth set, the Bulldogs, who had been down early in each of the first three sets, opened a 9-1 lead on an 8-point serving run by Cremoux, who floated in a rare ace in the front row after a Raiders' timeout.  CSM extended it to 17-8 but Moorpark rallied with a 4-1 run including a dump kill by Brooke Bunker. Kills by Estrada and Bruk gave CSM a 20-12 advantage. Moorpark again fought back and cut it to 21-16 on a net-lip ace by Skyler Costa. San Mateo responded with a Saluni standing attack kill. Bunker tried to do a quick dump but her effort hit the net to give CSM 25-19 set #4 triumph.

Moorpark led 6-2 and 18-11 in the third set as Moorpark's block proved to be a big factor. Cremoux scored six kills in the set and tried to rally the Bulldogs who got to as close as 22-17. But Moorpark used a kill by Olswang and a block by Olswang and Valentina Garza to close out a 25-17 set #3 win. The Raiders forced the Bulldogs into 12 attack errors and made 4 blocks for points in the set. 

In the second set, Moorpark jumped out to a 10-4 lead on a Mobley kill. During the spurt, Majus served a pair of aces in a 4-0 serving run. San Mateo cut to 16-14 on a kill by Cremoux. Moorpark stretched it to 20-16 with two more kills by Oslwang before CSM stormed back with two blocks and a kill from Bruk to slice it to 20-19. The Raiders had set point at 24-23 but a Saluni landed a kill inside the sideline to tie it, and Cremoux spun an ace on the backline to give the Bulldogs a 26-24 set victory.

In the opening set, Moorpark led 3-0, but San Mateo eventually took a 16-12 lead. Olswang ripped two kills and an ace by Makenna Majus tied it at 21-21. The Raiders took a 23-22 lead on a huge block by Gaglio and Hanna English. Two attack errors closed out the set for a 1-0 Moorpark lead. Olswang had six kills in the set as Moorpark hit .375 to San Mateo's .343. The Bulldogs' Saluni drilled five kills in just six attacks. 

Moorpark head coach Adam Black said, "We just didn't take care of the ball in the fourth and fifth sets, especially on first contact. Even in the last set, I felt like we could make a dramatic comeback. We did that all season where we came back from big deficits to win matches. Give San Mateo credit as they were outstanding and played great defense. Cashe was once again a big hitter for us as she's been all season."

San Mateo will play the winner of the Grossmont-Feather River match in the semifinals on Saturday at 2 p.m.

*-El Camino's Bev Hazell has the state record for most attempts with 79 when she tied for the state tourney record for kills (33) v. West Valley in a 2005 tourney match. Sets were scored to 30 points that year. 

Release by Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA/CCCAA Championship SID