The California Lady Pintos were coming off of their first loss of the season when they traveled to Jefferson City last Tuesday for a matchup with the Capital City High School Cavaliers.
Although the Cavaliers had only won three matches coming into Tuesday, defeating them was no easy task. Capital City defeated California in both the freshman and junior varsity matches 2-1 and entered the varsity match on the verge of sending the Lady Pintos home empty-handed. The varsity Lady Pintos didn't budge, though, claiming a 3-0 victory (25-11, 25-17, 25-17). California left the match-up with a district-leading 10-1-1 record.
As the opening set began, the Lady Pintos continued a familiar pattern of success. Led by senior Ella Lewis, the Lady Pintos scored early and often in the opening set. Lewis was the dominant force for California in the first set as she used her height and jumping ability to frustrate the Cavaliers on both sides of the ball. Lewis notched 10 kills in the opening set to lead California to a 25-11 win.
Sets two and three would be mirror images of each other. Every time the Cavaliers got close, the Lady Pintos had an answer. Both sets ended with California claiming victory 25-17.
Lewis was the star of the game, according to head coach Julie Bailey. After a subpar performance in the loss to Blair Oaks last Friday, Lewis came onto the court looking like a different player and provided her team with the front-line efficiency that has been her trademark.
"I was expecting them to put two on the front row against her," Bailey said. "I think their thoughts were 'We'll let two girls go against Lauren.' And they quickly found out that our second middle is just as good as our first middle."
Lewis said even though she got most of the glory for her kills, she humbly praised her teammates for giving her those chances.
"Coach told us that we all needed to come out strong and start hitting the ball from the get-go and get our advantage started early," Lewis said. "Honestly, I don't think I would've been able to get all those kills that I did without those amazing back row players that were passing and my awesome setters."
Throughout the match, California got a big lift from its back row players. They helped keep the ball in play and, on multiple occasions, it led to some of California's biggest points of the match.
"We had some really amazing saves tonight from just pure, flat-out hustle," Bailey said. "They probably thought that the play was over, and then we made some amazing plays to get it back."
After defeating Capital City, the Lady Pintos went on to beat the Eugene Lady Eagles 3-0 at home last Thursday (25-15, 25-17, 25-17). California's record sits at a strong 11-1-1 as of press time Tuesday.
The Lady Pintos will look to continue that hot streak this week after traveling to Southern Boone Tuesday night. Then, they'll return home Thursday to host Hickman.