Ojai Valley News photo by Ken Brown
Morgan Giove (No. 21), in recent action against Villanova, has been a major contributor for Nordhoff this season.
Tim Tuttle, Ojai Valley News contributor
Nordhoff’s girls’ volleyball team scored the final three points in the match’s fifth game to defeat Garden Grove, 3-2 (29-27, 25-21, 25-27, 15-25, 17-15), in a CIF 4AA, first-round playoff Tuesday on the Argonauts’ floor.
Garden Grove defeated Nordhoff, 3-1, a year ago in the CIF quarterfinals.
This year, the Rangers (10-11) faced match
point with Garden Grove leading 15-14, but tied the score following a long rally with several saves. With Lexi May serving, they scored the 16th point on Elizabeth Clawson’s kill and the 17th point on a forced out-of-bounds error by Garden Grove.
“It feels pretty amazing,” Clawson said. “I wasn’t expecting that we’d win.”
“It feels amazing to have kept coming back,” setter Odessa Runyan added. “It was a roller coaster.”
Nordhoff finished fourth in the Tri-Valley League this year and got into the CIF by defeating Villanova in a playoff. Garden Grove (14-11) won the Garden Grove League championship with a 9-1 record and entered the postseason as the No. 15-ranked team in 4AA.
The Rangers held off Garden Grove’s late comeback in the first game, which was tied at 25. Nordhoff scored the last two points on a touch shot and Clawson’s unreturned spike.
Garden Grove led 19-16 in the second game, but the Rangers outscored the Argonauts 9-2 down the stretch.
The lead changed sides 10 times in the third game. Nordhoff had a match point at 24-23, faced a match point at 25-24 and tied it at 25. Garden Grove took the final two points to win its first, 27-25.
The Rangers were in contention in the fourth game, trailing 17-13, but Garden Grove outscored them, 8-2, to win the game.
“We have nothing to lose, they have everything to lose. We aren’t ranked, they’re ranked 15th,” Nordhoff coach Rene Nakao-Mauch told her team before the decisive game.
The Rangers led in the fifth game, 13-9, fell behind, 15-14, and scored the three points that kept their season alive.
“The Tri-Valley League is rated the toughest in the division we play,” Nakao-Mauch said. “We’d faced crowds like the one we faced tonight in the league. The competition we played in league prepared us for this match. We were inconsistent at times and we’ve played better, but Garden Grove is a good team.”
“I had my ups and downs, but everybody had some ups and downs,” added Clawson.
Runyan’s setting, Clawson’s hitting and serving, May’s serving and libero Emily Johnson’s solid back-line play were key components to the victory.
The Rangers moved on to the second round against Alta Loma Thursday night.
See next week’s Ojai Valley News, or follow the Ojai Valley News on Facebook or Twitter to see if the Lady Rangers advance.
© Ojai Valley News, 2015