Redwood survives against Temple City

Redwood’s Kennedy Cutler spikes the ball against Temple City. Cutler recorded 16 kills, 12 digs and three aces in Redwood’s win over Temple City.(Kason Clark)

Redwood volleyball wins in five sets over Temple City to stay alive in the Division III State playoffs; the Rangers advance to face Del Norte in the Regional Finals

VISALIA – The further we get into the Division III State playoffs, the higher the intensity will get. And that was the case on Saturday night, when Redwood volleyball faced off against Temple City. After the Rangers won the first two sets of the night, the Rams won the next two to force a fifth set.

Despite letting their lead slip away from them, the Rangers won the fifth set to win the match, 3-2, (25-16, 25-21, 21-25, 22-25, 15-10) to advance in the playoffs on Nov. 11. While the Rangers walked away with the victory, Redwood head coach Alana Montgomery was impressed with how both teams played with their season on the line.

“It was a hard fought game all night. Both teams should be proud of their performance,” Montgomery said.

It was another win for the Rangers in the state playoffs. Earlier in the week, Redwood defeated Venice, 3-0, (25-20, 25-14, 25-12) to advance in the postseason. As the Rangers head further into the playoffs, Montgomery is thankful that they get the chance to keep playing this fall.

“We take each game one at a time. We look forward to the next challenge and another chance to compete,” Montgomery said. “We are so grateful to still be playing and for our fans and the support we have received.”

The Rangers have played well in the postseason to keep their season alive.  And that strong play was apparent in the first set against Temple City. After an 8-8 tie to open the first, the Rangers took control with a 14-3 run to take a 22-11 lead. The Rams were unable to respond as Redwood went on to win, 25-16, for a 1-0 lead on the night.

The second set followed a similar pattern. After a 14-14 tie, the Rangers took control with a 9-4 run to take a 23-18 lead. The Rams tried to climb their way back into it, but Redwood held on for the 25-21 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. As the Rangers took the lead, Ashyln Guenter believed they were just ready to play from the jump.

“We just came out aggressive as we were playing well on offense,” Guenter said. “When we focused on our offense and were getting those sharp kills and playing aggressive, we were really able to pull ahead and get those points.”

With their backs against the wall, the Rams responded in the third. After a 13-13 tie to start the third, the Rams got hot with an 8-1 run to take a 21-14 lead. The Rangers tried to come back, but the Rams went on to win, 25-21, to extend the match.

The Rams took their momentum into the fourth set. The contest started competitively with the Rangers and Rams fighting to a 7-7 stalemate. Needing a win, the Rams got hot to take a 21-18 lead. The Rangers tried to keep pace, but the Rams closed it out to win, 25-22, to force a fifth set. With the Rams coming back to tie the match, they demonstrated how good they are as a team. 

“Temple City has a great team with a lot of volleyball knowledge,” Montgomery said. “They took advantage of every opportunity.”

After losing their lead in the match, the Rangers took a 12-9 lead to start the fifth set. The Rangers then scored two straight points to set up the match point. The Rams scored to extend the match, but Guenter got the kill to give her team the 15-10 victory to win the match. While the Rams had momentum heading into the fifth, Guenter and the Rangers were able to emotionally recover to win the match.

“We really just had to take a deep breath, focus and forget what happened,” Guenter said. “It was a new game. With everything in the past, you take what you learned and just have to use that to go ahead and keep going strong.”

Audrey Hyde led Redwood with 18 kills while also recording 24 digs and 26 assists. Kennedy Cutler had 16 kills while Guenter had 15 for the Rangers. Devyn Castaneda recorded 24 digs and 11 assists and Hazel Green made an impact with 12 digs and 16 assists.

The Rangers are now 35-6 this season and remain undefeated at home with a 15-0 record. So it is good news for the Rangers that they will get to host Del Norte in the regional finals on Nov. 14. With a berth in the state championship on the line, Guenter and the Rangers will look to keep it rolling.

“We just have to keep pushing ahead,” Guenter said. “Our crowd is amazing and they really help with our energy. Our team has eight seniors who’ve all lost in the first round in the playoffs all three years so going this far, it means a lot to us.”

The results of Tuesday night’s match came in after print. 

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