At the midway point of the Moore League girls’ volleyball season, things are all evened up. Long Beach Poly swept Lakewood Tuesday afternoon to force a first-place tie between the Jackrabbits and Lancers, with Millikan and Wilson just one game back. Poly was dominant in a road sweep of the Lancers, winning 25-21, 25-10, 25-15.
Poly and Lakewood were both fresh off a grueling weekend schedule at the Durango Tournament in Las Vegas, but the Jackrabbits looked energized while the Lancers looked worn out.
“I think the Durango Tournament got us together, our chemistry is built up,” said Poly sophomore Adonia Faumuina. “We’ve been so excited to come out and get this done.”
Faumuina was the star of the afternoon, with a rare triple-double stat line that saw her put up 12 kills, 13 assists, 10 digs, five blocks, and an ace.
“She played really well, when she clocks in like that it’s awesome,” said Poly coach Leland McGrath.
McGrath has had an interesting challenge on his hands: where to play Faumuina. The best setter in the league and arguably the best hitter as well, she had begun the year as one of the two setters in a 6-2 system for Poly then moved full-time to outside hitter. Last week McGrath shifted her back into setting and the move has paid off. Poly scored points in every rotation and Faumuina contributed to 31 of Poly’s 75 points.
Senior setter Pearl Tuliau had a nice match for Poly as well with 16 assists and three aces.
“Our setters and our pin hitters were grooving today,” said McGrath.
Lakewood coach Mike Wadley, fresh off his 400th career win with the Lancers, saw his team have an opposite reaction to the Durango grind.
“Leland and I were talking at the pre-tournament coaches’ meeting,” said Wadley. “Playing right after Durango can help you or hurt you–I think it helped them and I think it hurt us.”
Poly put a ton of emphasis on blocking in the practice leading up to the match, and it showed as the Jackrabbits piled up nine team blocks in three sets, with Rylie McGinest (five), Kaia Brown (three), and Elle Requejo (four) all helping lock down the net. Lakewood was held to .051 hitting in the match, and top hitters Laura Williams and Samarah DaCoud were limited to 13 kills and 13 hitting errors combined.
The other leaders for Poly were McGinest (six kills, five blocks), Aniah Cutler (six kills), and Brown (five kills, three blocks). Requejo, a senior, had 10 kills, four blocks, and two aces in an excellent showing.
“I’ve been on varsity but I haven’t really gotten to play in this (rivalry) before,” said Requejo. “I’ve been watching these great matches and I’ve been excited for it.”
Grace Abdoo (21 digs) and Nicaylah Iamaleava (13 digs) paced a strong back-row effort for the Jackrabbits.
For Lakewood, Wadley praised the play of freshman setter Fatima Hall, who didn’t seem intimidated by the intensity of the match. Arwen Pila had 17 digs in the match, and sophomore Shayna Martinez had a team-high eight kills.
Moore League “Top 4” Remaining Schedule
Oct 1: Poly @ Millikan
Oct 3: Lakewood @ Millikan
Oct 3: Wilson @ Poly
Oct 8: Lakewood @ Wilson
Oct 15: Millikan @ Wilson
Oct 17: Lakewood @ Poly