Thursday evening’s meeting between Lakewood and Wilson’s girls’ volleyball teams was a clash of the Moore League’s top two programs, both of whom came into the match with an unblemished league record. The match, predictably, went to five sets and hinged on a few plays of extra effort. On one play in the fifth set, Lakewood senior DS Lauren Zabala dove into the stands to save a ball that looked like it was a Wilson point, which let senior middle blocker Makayla Sorenson put it down for the Lancers.
Lakewood’s late-match execution and effort gave them a thrilling win over Wilson and first place in the Moore League two weeks in, as the Lancers won 25-23, 15-25, 25-17, 20-25, 15-8.
“The Moore League is really strong this year, these are the best matches we’ve had with Wilson and Millikan in a long time,” said Lakewood coach Mike Wadley.
“I just want to give Lakewood all the credit in the world,” said Wilson coach Carlos Briceno. “They outworked us, they dug more bars, they hit the floor more.”
Both Wadley and Poly coach Leland McGrath (whose team lost to Wilson earlier in the week) have remarked on how nice it is for the players that the league is more competitive, with more high-energy, high-intensity matches on the schedule than usual.
When posed the question, Briceno smiled.
“We haven’t won the Moore League in eight years,” he said. “I want to win the league, I don’t care if it’s three or four or five games.”
It looked like Wilson would jump out to a first-set win as they took an 18-12 lead, but Lakewood stormed back and won it. In the second, Wilson jumped out to a 14-5 lead and didn’t look back, then Lakewood flipped the tables in the third. The fourth set was closer, but Wilson closed on an 8-4 run to win it and force the fifth.
In the fifth set, Lakewood’s defensive hustle really showed up, and they took a 12-5 lead with Zabala serving up a 5-0 run. The Lancers closed the match with a block from sophomore Laura Williams.
Risa Sena led Wilson with five kills, backed up by 12 from Doris Chuang. Freshman Samarah DaCoud led Lakewood with 18 kills, while Shayna Martinez had 14, and Williams had 11 kills and five blocks.
Both teams will compete in the Steve Lewis Volleyfest at Lakewood on Saturday.