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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Evan HolmesEmma Whitson (left) and Lauren Friedrich (right) rise for a tandem block in their opening set against Boonville.

California High School’s volleyball squad hosted rival Boonville High School Thursday night in their homeopener.

The Lady Pintos wasted no time in putting on a show for the hometown crowd by crushing their conference rival 3-0; the set scores were 25-20, 25-16 and 25-10.

The Lady Pintos were in control from the start, only trailing one time in the entire match when Boonville scored the first point of the third set.

After a shaky but ultimately dominant 3-0 win against Mexico High School last week, California looked to play a more aggressive and upbeat style of volleyball. The Lady Pintos came storming out of the gate in the first set, jumping out to a 19-5 lead and forcing the Lady Pirates to use both of their timeouts. Boonville made a valiant comeback effort by scoring 15 of the next 20 points before the Lady Pintos were able to put them away.

California went on to take firm command of the next two sets with help from their entire roster and put the Lady Pirates behind them. With their victory, the Lady Pintos have now won seven straight matches against Boonville since 2016.

“We were getting our hitters the ball and we were much more efficient with our passes, which was allowing our setters to get our hitters the ball and our hitters were getting some amazing swings,” Lady Pintos head coach Julie Bailey said. “Ella (Lewis), Lauren (Friedrich) and Isabella (Kincaid) were just pounding the ball and they weren’t really getting a hold of it in the jamboree or at Mexico. And our defense did a great job, too. They made some great defensive plays.”

Bailey said her Lady Pintos have a bad habit of playing tentative volleyball, and that was why the matchup against Mexico was a shaky one. But on Thursday night, the Pintos learned from their opening stumbles and played their brand of volleyball from the start.

“Whenever we played Mexico, I felt like we weren’t ready to play. So we just got really pumped up for this game,” Friedrich, a junior, said. “It was our first home game, so I think we just left it all on the court and played our best game.”

With Blair Oaks High School being the defending champion in their conference, the Lady Pintos’ victory against the Lady Pirates marks the first step in their journey to dethroning the Lady Falcons. But with a lot more season left to play, Bailey and her team are taking things one match at a time.

“We just have to play like we did tonight and maintain that level of play,” Bailey said. “We can’t have a team get a 10-point run. That’s one of the things we definitely have to improve on. But we’ve got to continue to hit the ball as aggressively as we were hitting it tonight.”

Lady Pintos volleyball is back in action multiple times this week with matchups at Eldon on Thursday, a tournament in Fulton on Saturday, and a home matchup against Marshall on Monday.

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