SARATOGA, Calif. - The 37-35 opening set was a precursor to a thrilling five-set battle between Coast Conference volleyball unbeatens West Valley and Hartnell Wednesday night in Saratoga. After Hartnell staved off six set points to claim the epic first set, the Vikings came back to earn an exhausting 35-37, 25-16, 13-25, 25-16, 15-13 win.
WVC (11-5, 2-0 Coast) jumped out to a 14-8 lead in the first set, but the Panthers (11-5, 1-1) clawed their way back to 14-all, setting up a side-out tug-of-war the rest of the way. The Vikings dominated the second set, only to be dominated by Hartnell in the third. West Valley grabbed a 5-0 advantage in the crucial fourth set and led the entire way, setting the stage for the deciding fifth set. Hartnell took an early 2-0 lead, but WVC tied it up and the two sides traded side-outs before the Vikings pulled away.
The West Valley stat sheet showed an astounding 63 Viking kills, paced by Mapu Sekona's 28 and Kaylin Henderson's 18. Sekona's line, in addition to the kills, listed 27 digs, five service aces and two solo blocks. Shyla Boeche handed out 57 assists on the evening, Hunter Roberts came up with 33 digs and Emily Mahoney served up three crucial aces.
West Valley is back in action on Thursday night against the College of San Mateo while Hartnell hosts City College of San Francisco on Friday.
(Courtesy Matt Folsom, West Valley Athletics)