VOLLEYBALL: South San steps up as one of 28-6A’s leaders

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: East Central, South San, Southwest.



The sands may shift considerably as this year’s District 28-6A race progresses, but they were stacked in a new configuration after four matches.

South San (14-15, 4-1) won its first four district matches to claim a rare spot atop the district standings. It was the first time in at least six seasons that the Bobcats had been in first place.

“They have improved a lot,” South San coach Evelyn Pineda said. “The girls see that nobody is given a starting spot. They have to work for it and earn that spot. They are hungry.”

A 25-11, 25-9, 25-13 loss to East Central (20-17, 4-1) Oct. 9 elevated the Hornets to share first with the Bobcats and Southwest (18-13, 4-1).

The Bobcats had strengthened its hold on first with a 25-16, 25-15, 25-17 win over Corpus Christi Carroll (6-13, 1-4) Oct. 6 at South San. They played like a first-place team, repelling the Tigers each time they threatened to put together a run.

“I’m glad to be an important part of this team,” South San senior Clarissa Ruiz said. “We’ve had a great season so far.”

Ruiz is one of a handful of seniors who were promoted from last year’s junior varsity. The group includes middle blockers Arantxa Saucedo and Celeste Alfaro.

Saucedo (13 kills) ended the first game against Carroll with a kill through the Tigers’ block attempt, following an ace from Ruiz. Alfaro produced four consecutive points to help the Bobcats pull out Game 2. In the final game, Saucedo produced back-to-back kills for a 14-7 lead and Ruiz silenced the Tigers with a seven-point service run.

“We’re just trying to stay humble and play our game,” Ruiz said. “We want to fight and be a team as one.”

Senior Erica Jimenez finished with a team-high 12 assists. Samantha Velasquez contributed 13 digs. Amanda Vallejo added 2.5 blocks.

South San was coming off a five-game win over Southwest Oct. 2 at South San. The Dragons overcame a 14-11 deficit to win the fifth game and defeat the Dragons for the first time in several seasons.

“They were a little off today, but it was a slow-tempo team,” Pineda said. “Southwest does a quicker pace like we do. But I tell them, ‘You have to be ready.’ ”

At East Central, Jimenez led with 11 assists. Saucedo slammed five kills and Alfaro added two blocks. Delilah Lugo contributed 10 digs and two aces.

East Central was led by senior Kaylin Mills, who chipped in 25 assists and a whopping nine aces. Kirstin Bradley led with 13 digs. Lindsey Lubianski smashed 3.5 blocks. Skeyler Embry drilled eight kills.



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