Buchanan pulls out 5-set win over Clovis West
Buchanan High’s Taylor Mounts didn’t mince words after she got done slicing perfectly through Clovis West on Tuesday night.
“I felt that was the beginning of a new era,” Mounts said. “The last few years we’ve been down and Clovis West has been all over us. Now we have confidence. That was a serious mental obstacle.”
The Bears have first place in the Tri-River Athletic Conference volleyball race all to themselves, too.
Mounts’ block provided match point as Buchanan, ranked No. 3 in the Central Section by The Bee, downed No. 2 and defending Division I champion Clovis West 13-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-10 before a packed house in the Golden Eagles’ mini gym.
“I didn’t want a single play more than that one,” said Mounts, who also swatted 13 kills in as many attempts. “When I went up, I knew I had to get it and I did.”
Buchanan (18-4, 4-0) hadn’t defeated Clovis West (10-7, 2-1) since 2009, the last time the Bears won a TRAC title. The Golden Eagles have won at least a share of the league title in four of the past five years, with three section titles during that stretch.
“I’m so proud of these kids,” Buchanan coach Marian Battles said. “They’ve lived in the shadow of Clovis West for three years. This is a good win, but it’s not over. They will regroup.”
Battles challenged the Bears to play better after getting rolled in the first set. They responded by jumping out to a 14-7 lead following McKenna Patrick’s ace, then rode four kills from Mounts down the stretch to win their first set against the Golden Eagles since 2009.
JamieAnn Bero delivered five of her 11 kills and one of her three aces in the third set to give Buchanan its first lead over Clovis West since Oct. 27, 2009.
“This means everything to us,” Bero said. “We’ve worked so hard for this, it’s so nice that work is paying off.”
Clovis West trailed 22-20 in the fourth set, but eventually rallied to win on one of Taylor Oren’s match-leading 17 kills.
The fifth set was tied 9-9 before Buchanan took advantage of a Clovis West error for the lead, then received two kills from Bero, a Clovis West error and Mounts’ block to complete the win.
“We didn’t make physical adjustments as much as mental adjustments,” Mounts said. We stepped up and realized it was right now, the moment we’d been working for.”
Clovis West never was able to get in the rhythm it had in the first set, when it jumped up 5-0 and rode kills from five players to the win.
“The first set is a pretty good representation of what we’re capable of,” Golden Eagles coach Rhonda DeRuiter said. “We just need to work on getting there more consistently.”
By Nick Giannandrea