WAC win for LB volleyball

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comSeptember 20, 2012 

Los Banos High's volleyball sweep over Central Valley on Monday to open Western Athletic Conference play was just the shot in the arm the Tigers were hoping for.

"Whenever we win it always boosts our confidence and we just get back into it," libero Madison Fullington said.

Los Banos scored early and often in the 25-7, 25-4, 25-13 victory, which helped the Tigers bounce back from a rough preseason.

"We played against some pretty good teams," Los Banos coach Greg Soliz said. "It was rough, but I think it helps us because we come in here, we're ready to play, and like the coach from Central Valley was saying, 'You guys run a really fast offense, you guys are really fast.'

"I think that's what helped us in the preseason -- we played teams that are pretty good, so we have to be just as fast."

Outside hitter Jade Fachin led the Tigers with eight kills, and middle blocker Michelle Gutierrez added five. Fachin and libero Kassandra Gaxiola each earned four digs -- the quick game didn't give them much opportunity to rack up the stats.

"He really wanted us to work on executing, and doing our best, pushing through and not getting lazy," libero Madison Fullington, said. "In league, we're just trying to win all our games and do the best we can."

While the Tigers feel they should steamroll most of the league, one team stands out -- Central Catholic, which the Tigers face at home this Wednesday.

"That's going to be a really important game," Soliz said. "But like I said, I don't want to take these other teams lightly, because anything can happen. You know volleyball, teams can get on a roll, and I don't want the girls -- like I told the girls tonight, just play your game, don't play their game or their speed."

After Los Banos (8-11, 1-0 WAC) put up a losing record in the pre-league season, they feel the pressure to win league in order to assure a decent spot in the playoffs. But the Tigers know all too well that even a high seed doesn't guarantee anything -- a year ago LB hosted a first-round game only to get blown out by Oakmont of Roseville.

A drop from Division III to D-IV in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs will give the Tigers the opportunity to face programs closer to their level -- teams such as Escalon, Hilmar (which defeated LB in four games earlier this season) and Ripon.

Panthers open WAC vs. Raiders

Across town, Pacheco hit the road Wednesday to open league play against Central Catholic and came away with a 3-0 loss. Pacheco hosts Ceres on Monday.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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