Mayfield not flat in 3-game sweep
By Todd Camps, Correspondent
BAKERSFIELD – What started as a long trip turned out to be short work for the Mayfield Senior School volleyball team.
Despite a flat tire to the team bus on the trip Tuesday, the sixth-seeded Cubs swept No. 3 Garces Memorial 25-16, 25-23, 25-23, in the CIF-State Southern California Division IV playoffs.
Mayfield (25-2) will travel to Solana Beach to face No. 1-seeded Santa Fe Christian in Saturday’s semifinals.
The Cubs used its height advantage at the net to force the Rams (28-13) into several mistakes. Junior outside hitter Susan Carlson sent several powerful spikes into a Garces defense that scrambled to cover its side of the net. Carlson also was strong from the service line.
At times, one had to wonder if the teams should have been seeded differently.
“Coming in with the possibility of playing for a state title was all the motivation,” said Carlson, who admitted she wasn’t excited about going to Bakersfield. “The seeding isn’t a big deal. We had no control no matter what.”
The Cubs certainly took control in Game 1 by taking a 10-2 lead.
Carlson delivered two more aces as Mayfield shook off a mild run by the Rams, who pulled within 18-14.
But after a timeout by Mayfield coach Ernest Banaag, the Cubs outscored the Rams, 7-4, the rest of the way.
Carlson, who is 5 feet, 11 inches, teamed with Hannah Schrader (6-1), Julia Ashman (5-11) and Annaliese Luck (5-11) to dominate the net.
Games 2 and 3 proved to be a battle, however, as the home crowd became more vocal and the Rams found some energy.
The Rams overcame an early 5-1 deficit and played the Cubs evenly throughout and never trailed by more than two points. But Mayfield hung on when the Rams served a ball into the net for match point.
In Game 3, Mayfield trailed, 16-8. But the Cubs continued to chip away by taking advantage of a few mistakes by Garces to pull within 19-18 and turn the final game into a see-saw battle.
“We never thought about going to state, just winning the section,” said Banaag, whose team has just two seniors. “But we’ve been able to rise to the occasion all year. And the time to do it is now.
“Garces is a tough team, but also young. We continued to apply pressure and force some crucial errors.”