by Christopher Mohr
September 21, 2010 (Spring Valley) - Steele Canyon High School's girls volleyball team traveled to Monte Vista High School for a three game, non-league match against the host Monarchs Monday night. The Cougars won the match with a sweep of all three games by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-9.
Although a three-game sweep might suggest domination, Monte Vista proved to be a pesky opponent that would not go away quietly. In the latter part of the first two games, the Monarchs kept the score close. In the first game, they were within three, down 17-14. In the second game, they also closed to within three, down 22-19. The second game was especially troublesome for Steele Canyon as Monte Vista went on a 9-1 scoring run and made a serious threat to come back.
With a slim 23-19 lead in the second game, Steele Canyon's Halle Aiken made a key kill that gave her team a 24-19 and a side out that allowed the Cougars to close out the second game 25-19. Aiken's hit was so hard that it traveled across the gym to the opposite wall after glancing off a Monte Vista player.
Aiken denied that the shot was an attempt to relieve frustration at the Monarchs' recent scoring run: "Not really, I wasn't really thinking about the score, I was thinking about our next side out, just going up there trying to hit hard and unfortunately it went soaring, but that's okay, but the next point is ours, but just trying to get a side out."
The third game was total domination by the Cougars, which went on a 12-2 run en route to a 25-9 win.
Aiken had an impressive game with a hit percentage of .714 with 12 kills, 10 assists, seven digs and two aces. Overall the Cougars' hit percentage was .338. Samantha Willoughby made several key plays in the Cougars' winning effort.
Aiken shared her thoughts on the match, "I thought we did really well, our passing was pretty good. We have a lot of players in the front row that do a tremendous job, just all around a great job tonight."
Steele Canyon Coach Karolyn Kirby was happy with the win and her team's progress up to this point in the season, "It's coming together slowly. We're working on a lot of things offensively and defensively. we have a whole new system that they've never used before with their primary hitters also being setters. we have a lot going on there that we need to establish, but we're on the right track."
With the win, Steele Canyon improved to 5-3. Their next match is at home against Mount Miguel (0-2). Monte Vista dropped to 2-5 and will visit Helix (1-2) next. Both teams' next games are on Wednesday (9/22).