Chela Moreno wants to make sure her El Capitan High volleyball team is having fun. When they’re having fun, they play better.
The Gauchos had plenty of fun on Wednesday night as they cruised to a 25-15, 25-11, 25-17 win over Merced to improve to 8-4 overall and 4-0 in the Central California Conference.
“We’re having fun,” Moreno said. “We talk before practices to make sure we have fun. When we have fun we work harder.”
The Gauchos used a balanced attack to sack Merced (10-6, 1-2 CCC). Paige Martin led the way with 10 kills, nine digs and three aces.
However, El Capitan setter Natalie Collins dished out her 27 assists to a variety of hitters. Robins Helms finished with seven kills and three blocks and Yatzary Lua added six kills, ll digs and two aces.
“We want to use every single player we have,” Moreno said. “We have plenty of hitter and we want to use all of them and Natalie knows that.”
The Bears took an early 10-7 lead with the help of Madi Kane’s serving (four aces). The Gauchos responded by winning eight of the next nine points and went on to take game one 25-15.
The Gauchos used a 13-3 run in game two to jump out to a 19-10 lead and it was all Gauchos in the third game.
El Capitan likely headed to a showdown with Buhach Colony next week with first place in the CCC on the line. The Gauchos travel to the Thunder on Wednesday.
Golden Valley 3, Atwater 1 in Atwater - Zoya Wood led the Cougars (9-8 overall, 2-2 CCC) past the Falcons with 33 assists, five aces and six kills. Nicole Wood added seven kills and Aleena Jimenez finished with six kills for Golden Valley.
Buhach Colony 3, Patterson 0 in Patterson - Mallory Pazin helped Buhach Colony improve to 4-0 in the CCC with 14 assists and three aces in a 25-16, 25-9, 25-18 win over the Tigers. Miranda Baptista added 15 assists and Leanne Mello finished with 11 digs.
The Merced boys and the Atwater girls won the first CCC Center Meet of the season on Wednesday at River Bluff Park in Ceres.
The Bears’ turned in the three fastest times in the boys race with Cole McKain taking first place with a time of 16 minutes, 35.1 seconds. William Perez-Rios (17:06.8) placed second and Enrique Robles-Ceja (17:14.7) finished third.
The Merced boys finished with 24 points. Buhach Colony finished second with 48 and Atwater third with 62.
Merced senior Quinn Hagerman won the girls race with a time of 18:15.9.
Hagerman was followed by three Atwater runners in Clara Harman (20:46), Arely Venegas (20:55.1) and Elisabeth Garner (21:11.8).
The Falcons finished with 32 team points. Merced came in second with 44 and Buhach Colony third with 59.
Merced College 3, Columbia 2 in Sonora - Jessica Pinasco finished with 16 kills, 19 digs and three aces to help the Blue Devils (4-0 overall, 1-0 Central Valley Conference) pull out a 14-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-22, 15-11 win. Yessenia Segarra had 41 assists for Merced College
UC Mercd 2, William Jessup 1 in Merced - Artemio Contreras and Rick Rosas scored goals as the Bobcats (3-3-1) wrapped up their nonconference schedule with a win at Bobcats Field.