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CIF Girls’ Volleyball: Wilson Sweeps Temecula Valley In Postseason Opener

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It’s been easy for Wilson girls’ volleyball opponents to dial in their defense on big outside hitters Chloe Pravednikov and Babi Gubbins, who are both going on to play NCAA volleyball next year.

However, that’s left big opportunities for other Bruins like freshman Simrin Adams to get loose and change games.

That’s exactly what happened in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs on Saturday when Wilson hosted Temecula Valley. Adams helped spark comeback runs in the second and third set as the Bruins swept the Golden Bears 25-20, 26-24, 25-21.

“I’m so happy to play on this team, I just didn’t want it to be our last game,” Adams said. “(Getting free swings early) makes me excited and makes me want to try harder.”

Adams put down 11 kills on just 18 swings for the best hitting percentage of the night. Gubbins finished with a tame-high 15 kills to go with 12 digs, two blocks and a service ace. Pravednikov had 13 kills, 12 digs, one block and one ace.

“It’s our first CIF game, so we were a little bit nervous, but we know that if we just play our game we’ll be okay,” Pravednikov said.

There were a few controversial calls that went against Wilson in the first set, and they trailed late in both the second and third sets, but the Bruins finished strong.

“We’ve experienced some of that kind of stuff where we feel like calls aren’t going our way,” Wilson coach Chris Ceballos said. “In the past it kind of affected us in a negative way. We’ve been trying to get more mentally tough to avoid those kinds of situations where we don’t let up regardless of the score.”

Wilson took an early lead though Gubbins and held off a late Temecula Valley charge to take the first set 25-20, but the visitors bounced back and led 24-20 in the second set. Ceballos called a timeout to rearrange his defense where Pravednikov moved to the side of Temecula Valley’s top hitter Savannah Sheridan, who had a team-high nine kills.

“Whoever is in front (Pravednikov or Gubbins) we can always throw them on the right side in times of need, especially when you have players like (Adams and Peyton Agura) who can put a ball away.”

“Having Chloe in the front row and me in the back row is kind of our stronger (rotation) that suits us,“ Gubbins said. “It clicked well and I was able to feed good passes so she could get some good sets and terminate the ball.”

Adams also rotated back in when a Temecula Valley error gave Wilson a side out.

“Our energy started dropping, and when I came in (at the end of the second set) Chloe was like, ‘Let’s do this,’ and the energy picked up,” Adams said. “Our energy carried us through.”

After a Emiya Green block in the middle, Adams and Pravednikov delivered the big kills to lead a 6-0 run that gave Wilson the second set 26-24.

“She looked like a seasoned vet out there,” Ceballos said of Adams. “(Pravednikov and Gubbins) take a lot of the focus (from other teams), and when she’s one-on-one that girl is unstoppable.”

Wilson trailed again in the third set 15-10, but Pravednikov delivered three consecutive kills on the left side to tie it up 18-18. A key dig from Camille Agrupis and one of Kate Eckenrode’s five service aces on the night put the Bruins back up 21-19.

With the third set tied 21-21, a service error and Adams’ kills clinched the victory.

“If we just stay calm and composed we can pull through tough times,” Gubbins said. “It’s just a good reminder that we can do it, we just have to tune into ourselves.”

Wilson travels to Newport Harbor on Wednesday for the quarterfinals. First serve is scheduled for 6 p.m.

“If we play every point regardless of the score we’ll be in every match,” Ceballos said.

VIDEO: Wilson vs. Temecula Valley, CIF Girls’ Volleyball
PHOTOS: Wilson vs. Temecula Valley, CIF Girls’ Volleyball
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.