South Fork’s netters defeated #5 seed Mendocino 13-25, 25-19, 25-17, 24-26, 15-9 in the second round of the North Coast Section Division 6 Championship tournament Saturday night in Miranda.
In a rematch of the August 27th five-set win that probably helped earn #4 seed South Fork the higher rank the Lady Cubs got off to a shaky start and Mendo looked by far the sharper squad in the first set. But the Lady Cubs bounced back and took commanding leads early in each of the next two sets thanks to strong serving and Mendocino’s unforced errors.
When Mendocino took the lead in the fourth set, unwilling to end its season without a fight, South Fork nearly came from 6 points down late in the game to pull out a win, but a 5th set was forced. Strong service again prevailed as seniors Jacy Snodgrass and Shasta Carr lead the way to wrap up the victory in the must-win final set.
Carr was the undeniable star of the match for South Fork, amassing 18 points and 26 kills with 14 digs and 4 blocks. Her upbeat presence on the court was mirrored by her teammates who never got down despite the rocky first set. Instead it was Mendocino who began to self-destruct when faced with South Fork’s irrepressibly confident demeanor.
"I knew Mendo was going to be tough," said head coach Lisa Todd. "The girls knew what they had to do, which was to cut down missed serves and read the defense. That’s what they did and they played well together and played hard all the way through."
Snodgrass had 12 points with 3 kills and 12 digs in the contest. Junior Trisha Harrison was quick as lightning on the court, setting for most of the team’s 35 kills while getting one of her own along with 11 points and 8 digs. Junior Kassie Humphrey had 8 points with 3 kills while shining on defense with 14 digs. Sophomore Libi Hartl had 5 points with 8 digs and 2 kills. Freshman Emma Valk was also a defensive force with 12 digs and 2 blocks as well as 3 points and a kill. Senior Paige Paup had 4 digs in the match.
Next up for the Lady Cubs will be a road trip on Wednesday to Boonville for a semi-final match against top seeded Anderson Valley who beat the #8 seed Ferndale in 4 sets on Saturday.
"Anderson Valley is a small team that focuses on defense and tipping more than hitting," said Todd. "We have our work cut out for us, but we are ready for the challenge."
If the Cubs win they will play on the road in the final on Saturday against the winner of the other semi-final match between The California School for the Deaf and Rincon Valley Christian.