Volleyball: Monarchs close in on outright title with win

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Career nights from Alexis Kirkman and Corinne Acosta led the Monarchs to a sweep over Immanuel

By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN

REEDLEY – The magic number for the Exeter Monarchs to win their first outright Central Sequoia League (CSL) title since 2008 is down to one. The defending co-champions swept the Immanuel Eagles last Thursday night 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-18) behind career nights from Alexis Kirkman and Corinne Acosta.

The Monarchs also got some help from the other 2016 co-champion, the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers, when they swept the Kingsburg Vikings 3-0. That gave Exeter (23-12; 7-1) a two-game lead entering their last week of play and clinches at least a share of the CSL title.

It seems that the newest member of the Acosta sporting family is ready to make a name for herself. Against the Eagles (12-12; 4-4), Acosta led the Monarchs with 16 kills on the night, beating her last career best of 13.

“[Acosta] is just a clutch player,” said coach Samantha Hilvers. “She was the one making the big stand out plays.”

Kirkman also had double-digit kills for the first time, when she finished with 14.

“[Kirkman] was swinging really well,” said Hilvers. “She was putting the ball down, being aggressive at the net.”

Both Acosta and Kirkman found lanes around the Eagles two big blockers, which was not easy, since one of them included the 6-foot Lindsay Unruh.

When Immanuel was on the offense, Kirkman was one of three Monarchs with two blocks.

The Eagles’ serve also produced a problem for the Monarchs. Because of the higher arch, the ball comes closer to crossing the back line. That is where Exeter’s libero Katelyn Kirkman came in.

“This year [Kirkman] has grown so much,” said Hilvers.

On this night, there was no one better than Kirkman. Her knowledge of how Immanuel serves and her response in receiving those serves was on point.

Exeter looked to clinch the CSL title outright last night against the Kingsburg Vikings, the final score was reached after press time.

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