Claremont Edges Bonita 3-2 As Bearcat Comeback Fails by Inches

September 30, 2009
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Bearcats huddle before play resumes against Claremont.

Bearcats huddle before play resumes against Claremont.

Inches separated winner and loser in the five-game volleyball match between Bonita and Claremont Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the Bearcat gym.

After rallying from a two game deficit, Bonita claimed games three and four and was a point away from winning the match when outside hitter Allie LaPierre’s attempted kill just went long. Reclaiming the serve, Claremont won the next two points, including the game and match winner — inches inside the backcourt line.

Claremont won the first two games, 25-17 and 25-22. Bonita took the next two, 25-16 and 26-24, before Claremont prevailed in the final, 17-15.

In the 17-15 nail-biter, neither the Bearcats nor the Wolfpack could get more than a two-point advantage. There were 12 ties before Claremont finally broke through to win 3-2.

At the start of the contest, it appeared the undefeated Wolfpack was in sweep mode. After the score was knotted at 12-12, Claremont cruised to a 25-17 victory. Early on, Bonita was victimized by inconsistent serving and lapses in communication.

“We were struggling a little bit with our serve-receive,” said volleyball coach Adriana Contreras. “We’re working on it.”

In game two, Bonita faded midway through the contest before furiously closing the gap with six unanswered points, getting as close as 23-21, before Claremont held on for the 25-22 victory. Although the comeback failed, Bonita showed its first signs of life that the match would extend beyond three games.

Ashley Maxfeldt goes throws the ball high for her service.

Ashley Maxfeldt goes throws the ball high for her service.

“The girls did a really good job at getting their stuff together and snapping out of it, and making the adjustments necessary to play a good team that serves tough,” Contreras said.

Indeed, tied at 10 in Game 3, Bonita rallied behind a Katie Kirby kill for an 11-10 edge, and the Bearcats cruised to a 24-17 win. The big question was, had Claremont momentarily lets it guard down or had Bonita finally woken up?

Game four was a pitched battle between the two teams. Bonita clung to small lead throughout most of the contest before Claremont tied the score, 18-18. Claremont surged ahead 24-21, and had four match point opportunities. The challenge seemed to finally bring out the best in Bonita, which featured clutch play from Ashley Maxfeldt and Victoria Dennis. At the same time, kill attempts by Kirby and LaPierre starting hitting their marks. The entire team seemed to finally be in synch, closing out the game on top, 26-24.

“We just decided to cover the ball,” Contreras observed. “That’s exactly what we did. Everybody was in their position. No one was waiting to see if anyone else would pick up the ball.

“We stepped up our level of play. I’m very proud of the girls.”

Claremont’s strategy of putting three defenders against the UCLA-bound LaPierre was somewhat successful.

Bisbardis played gamely on both sides of the net.

Meg Phelps warmed up strongly in preparation for showdown against rival Claremont High School.

“They know she is an absolutely great athlete, and they’re going to put three up on her,” Contreras explained

Consequently, Bonita’s primary setter, Maxfeldt, had to distribute the ball elsewhere to try to exploit the stacked defense.

Contreras liked the way Delia Bisbardis, playing the right side, picked up a number of tipped balls for Bonita. “She did a great job, and really helped us stay in game three and game four.

All the strategy and momentum swings aside, the game came down to a couple of inches in a great contest between two excellent teams preparing for league play.

Bonita next plays at Los Osos in Rancho Cucamonga, Oct. 1, at 5:15 p.m.

3 Responses to “Claremont Edges Bonita 3-2 As Bearcat Comeback Fails by Inches”

  1. Mr. Bennett,
    Thank you for your coverage of a great cross town match up!
    Next time I will bring you a cushion.

  2. If you put La Pierre on the right side and had Kirby on the left side then teams would not be able to triple block as the article mentioned. They were triple blocking both La Pierre and Kirby. And, Bonita has no block against the opponents outside hitters. If La Pierre was at right side she could block them. The coach just does not get it. Sad to watch a good team not given the opportunity to play at their best.

  3. If adjustments are not made by the coach, Bonita will lose their 4th straight match tonight and drop in the CIF polls.

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