Redwood volleyball surges past Mission Oak

On Thursday night at Richard Torrez Jr. Gymnasium, Audrey Hyde and the Redwood Rangers defeated Mission Oak in three sets to improve to 8-3 on the season.(Kason Clark)

With their sweep on Thursday night, Redwood continues to excel against Mission Oak; since 2017, the Rangers have won five straight matches and 15 straight sets against the Hawks

TULARE – Over the past few seasons, Redwood volleyball has had Mission Oak’s number. Since 2017, the Rangers have won four straight matches against the Hawks. In those wins, the Rangers have not even dropped a set to the Hawks.

On Thursday night at Richard Torrez Jr. Gymnasium, the Redwood Rangers once again defeated Mission Oak in three sets (25-23, 25-11, 25-17). The win improved the Rangers’ record to 8-3 this season, so Redwood head coach Alana Montgomer was satisfied with her team’s effort.

“I was happy with how the team played and everyone’s contribution to the win,” Montgomery said.

To start the night, the Hawks flew out to a 5-3 lead. The Rangers responded to tie things up, and the teams battled on from there. Later in the first set, the Rangers and Hawks fought to an 18-18 tie. The Hawks then took a 20-18 lead, which Mission Oak head coach Matt Jones credits to his team’s energy.

“We were hanging there and the energy stayed up, which meant we were moving more on defense,” Jones said. “We were just staying positive and kept it tight.”

But the Rangers wrangled away control with a 5-0 run to take a 23-20 lead. The Hawks tried to respond, but Redwood closed it out for the 25-23 win for a 1-0 lead in the match. With the first set hanging by a thread, Redwood’s Kennedy Cutler and her teammates rallied together to win it.

“Once we talked with each other and made a plan, we were able to come together as a team and get the point to finish it off,” Cutler said.

Coming off the strong finish to the first, the Rangers raced out to an 8-3 lead to start the next game. The Hawks were unable to put together a response as the Rangers played well throughout the entire set to win, 25-11, to make it a 2-0 lead on the night.

Looking to extend the match, the Hawks kept up with the Rangers for an 8-8 stalemate to start the third. But the Rangers retook control with an 8-0 run for a 16-8 lead. The Hawks played better down the stretch, but Redwood held on to win, 25-17. With a chance to finish the match in three sets, Cutler and her teammates did not want to let it go to waste.

“We told each other to start going at a faster pace and play a little faster,” Cutler said. “We were just getting it in, getting in good serves, good sets and good passes – just all of the above, and it really helped us just get every point and finish it off.”

The Rangers handed the Hawks their third straight loss and dropped them to 5-7 overall this season. As the Hawks look to move on from the loss, Jones believes there is plenty for them to learn and build from as they move forward.

“Redwood’s one of the premier programs in the Valley, so to hang with them for even one set is a small victory,” Jones said. “These are things that we can build on; and if we can do it for one set, let’s do it for two, then let’s do it for three and then go from there.”

For the Rangers, it was another strong win as they march along this season. Despite the victory, Montgomery knows there will be plenty to learn from this game as they look to maintain their momentum going forward.

“We never take any team for granted and we will just keep pushing and work hard,” Montgomery said. “We take every match one at a time and hope to build for the future with every game we play.”

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