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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/ Kevin LabotkaGrace Henley serves during California’s two-set win Oct. 4 over Mexico.

The California Pintos volleyball team improved to 18-3-3 on the season, after a two-set win over the Mexico Bulldogs (4-16-1). The Pintos won the first set 25-7 and the second 25-14, as California was in control the whole game.

After playing some challenging games last week, Head Coach Julie Bailey said it was nice to get a win like this.

"I think the tough games helped us to do that," Bailey said. "It helped us in the Warrensburg tournament and playing against Rock Bridge; it just helped us to play at our highest level and allow that to carry over, hopefully, to the rest of the season."

In the first set, California held an 8-6 lead, before winning 14 points-in-a-row to make it 22-6. California led by as much as 18 points in the first set. After Mexico broke the point-winning streak to make it 22-7, the Pintos won the final three points-in-a-row to end the set.

Bailey said it was important for the Pintos to take advantage of Mexico's mistakes.

"When teams are helping to beat themselves, then you have to take advantage," Bailey said. "I thought Gracie George had some amazing digs tonight and Hailey Cain had some great kills, so they definitely capitalized on that and we were able to run our offense pretty effectively."

The second set was a bit closer, for a little bit longer, as after California won the first three points, Mexico fought back and both sides traded points until they were 6-5. Then, the Pintos won the next four points-in-a-row to make it 10-5. After that, the closest the Bulldogs got to tying the game was four points, when the Pintos held a 14-10 lead. The Pintos pulled away, after another four-point winning streak made it 18-10 and California led by as much as 11 points at 24-13.

Bailey said she was happy the team did not let up in the second set, as that had been a problem for them at times this season.

"We have had some issues with that all weekend, when we were playing in the Warrensburg tournament. We would have a dominant win and then turn around and not play our best," Bailey said. "Same thing happened at Rock Bridge; we won in the first set and played really well and then, in the second set, we turned around and lost the game.

"We definitely have issues with that, so I was glad Tuesday night against Versailles, we didn't do that. We didn't let up and we had two dominant sets. And tonight, we were able to have two dominant sets, too. So, I was glad to see the girls do that."

The Pintos' next game is Oct. 11 at the School of Osage (12-5-1).

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