Girls Volleyball: Bonita wins the pressure points, sweeps Los Altos to take control in Miramonte

Los Altos hung with Bonita for the most part, but the Bearcats won all the pressure points, sweeping the Conquerors 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21 in pursuit of their third straight Miramonte League title. UCLA bound Allie LaPierre had 17 kills and Katie Kirby had 9 kills and 9 digs to pace the Bearcats, now 7-5-1 and 2-0 in league. Ashley Maxfeldt was huge too with 27 assists and six clutch aces. Jazmen Russell and Amanda Brown paced the Conq’s with 6 kills each.

By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
There is something about facing Los Altos that brings out the best in the Bonita High School girls volleyball team. The Bearcats, entering the week with a .500 record and questions about their confidence and consistency, found all the motivation they needed on the opposite side of the net and swept Los Altos, 25-22, 25-18 and 25-21 as they continued pursuit of their third consecutive Miramonte League title.

“With Los Altos it’s always a rivalry,” said Bearcats outside hitter Allie LaPierre, who finished with a game high 17 kills. “When I was a sophomore they were the team to beat and we split the league title with them.

“Ever since then we’ve always approached it like they’re the team to beat, and that gets us to focus hard and concentrate on what we need to do to get a win.

“We’re glad we came here and got this one out of the way. Now I can’t wait to play them at our house to finish it out.”

The only negative on an otherwise perfect night for Bonita was losing senior Delia Bisbardis to a knee injury in the second game. She was helped off the floor and her status is day-to-day.

“It was nerve-racking, but it always feels great to finish in three,” Bearcats coach Adriana Contreras said. “Obviously, it scared me to lose one our players (Bisbardis) on the back row, but all of our attackers were on and our blocking was great.

“We know that Los Altos is always going to come to play. We have been working on finishing and winning the pressure points, and tonight we finally delivered what we have been practicing.”

Bonita’s Katie Kirby had nine kills and nine assists and Ashley Maxfeldt came up with 27 assists and six aces as the Bearcats, ranked No. 2 in the latest CIF-Southern Section Division III-A poll, improved to 7-5-1 and 2-0.

The Conquerors, led by Jazmen Russell and Amanda Brown’s six kills each, dropped to 10-4 and 1-1.

“This felt good,” Kirby said. “The past couple matches have been terrible for us. It was great to close out games the way we did.”

After Bonita jumped to a 7-0 lead in the first game, the Conquerors battled back and cut the Bearcats’ advantage to 23-22 on Russell’s cross-court kill.

But the Bearcats answered with a huge block from Lauren Mierke. Then on game point, the Conquerors hit an open shot into the net that allowed the Bearcats to escape with a 25-22 win.

Los Altos led 13-12 in game two, but quickly fell behind 16-13 and 20-15 and never caught up.

LaPierre’s back-to-back kills gave the Bearcats a 22-16 lead, then her corner kill and ace made it 24-18. They closed it out when the Conquerors hit another shot into the net.

Game three was more of the same, with the score going back and forth, tied eight times and at 19-19 when the Bearcats reeled off three consecutive clutch points and got a Kirby kill to take a 22-19 lead.

After the Conquerors briefly closed to 22-20, Kirby’s cross-court kill made it 23-20 and Victoria Dennis came up with a block to go up 24-20.

Kirby closed it out on match point with another signature spike.

“When the pressure points come up we get all fired up,” Kirby said. “There was some talking going on (in the blogs) so we really wanted to come here and deliver a message.”

Closing games and matches had been a problem for the Bearcats, something they addressed when the week started.

“We haven’t been closing and we have been talking a lot about how we need to close,” LaPierre said. “A lot of it’s just concentration. We know we have a pretty good team, but sometimes we lose our focus. It we stay mentally strong and win the big points, we will be fine the rest of the way.” (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2161

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