The first time Sequoia took on Westmoor this season, the Cherokees were without their top hitter. While the Cherokees managed to persevere in that Sept. 26 matchup, it took them five matches to do so.
Oh, what a difference a little Joy makes.
With Joy Robinson fully recovered from a hamstring injury this time around, Sequoia breezed past Westmoor yesterday — 25-9, 25-19, 25-18. Robinson delivered a match-high 12 kills, as the senior southpaw led the Cherokees in a dominant and well-balanced attack.
Robinson recalls the frustration of having to watch the first four games of the season from the sidelines.
“It was really hard to watch (the first match with Westmoor), but I’m just really glad that when we came back, we were able to play the way we were supposed to the first time around,” Robinson said.
Sequoia (8-1, 18-7) took the upper hand at the service line in Game 1, scoring 19 service points, including a five-point run by junior Angela Hudelson to open the set, and a five-point run by sophomore Sarah Swinnerton to end it, with Swinnerton closing the set with her first of two match aces.
Westmoor (6-3, 16-15), admittedly, is disadvantaged in the front row due to a lack of height. And Sequoia quickly exploited the mismatch.
Cherokees sophomore blocker Lizzie Gaddini turned in her finest varsity performance to date, tallying seven blocks in the match, while she and freshman Leanne Robinson tabbed 11 kills each.
Sequoia head coach Dustyn Woropay credited Westmoor as being one of the most tenacious defensive teams in the Ocean Division, and pointed out Rams junior Marlene Alcantara as being the best libero in the division. But Sequoia’s attack distribution throughout the final two sets was simply too much for Westmoor to handle.
“I told our girls: just keep swinging and eventually their defense would break,” Woropay said. “We were able to get them to give up a lot of points late in the game.”
Prior to the match, Westmoor head coach Rex Mauga-Head was concerned the presence of Robinson would be a difference-maker. After the match, he was consistent with his reverence for the dynamic senior.
“They’re a strong team, and they’re back up to full strength,” Mauga-Head said. “We were totally the underdog, and it kind of showed today.”
As the only Sequoia senior on the court yesterday, it is clear why Robinson is one of the Cherokees’ team captains. She is also fielding some serious college offers. An honors student in the top 10 percent of her class, Robinson currently has offers to play at Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Pomona College. However, Woropay said that she would bypass playing if she has the opportunity to attend Stanford.
The victory also gets Sequoia back in the win column, after the Cherokees suffered their first league loss of the season last Thursday at Terra Nova.
“If we played like this (at Terra Nova), it would have been a lot different match,” Woropay said.
Other PAL results
In other Ocean Division action, Capuchino (4-5, 7-9) downed Half Moon Bay (4-5, 9-14) – 27-25, 17-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-11. Mustangs junior Brittany Deckman had 12 kills.
In Bay Division action, Carlmont (8-1, 18-8) downed Hillsdale (1-8, 10-11) – 25-15, 25-17, 25-11. Scots senior Ella McDonough had 10 kills, and senior Bailee Roces had five aces. Junior Lauren Tierney tabbed a career-high 24 assists.
Burlingame (6-3, 17-8) swept Aragon (2-7, 13-8) – 25-15, 25-15, 25-21. Panthers senior Morgan McKeever tabbed nine kills, senior Bianca Alvarez and junior Tatum Novitzky each had five kills. Senior setter Isabell Walker had 24 assists.