Atascadero tops San Luis Obispo in girls volleyball thriller

Atascadero downs San Luis Obispo in five sets after falling in four sets to the Tigers on the road earlier this season

nwilson@thetribunenews.comOctober 17, 2013 

Atascadero High’s volleyball team had lots to celebrate Thursday, including winning this point in the third set of a 3-2 win over San Luis Obispo that moved the Greyhounds into second place in the PAC 7, one-half game ahead of the Tigers.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The margin of victory between the Atascadero High and San Luis Obispo girls volleyball teams has been a thin one this year. 

San Luis Obispo beat the Greyhounds 3-1 at home Sept. 24 with each game separated by no more than three points. 

On Thursday, Atascadero got its revenge playing at home, beating the Tigers 25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 16-25, 15-13. 

The two teams won’t face each other again in the regular season, but they’re likely to compete for second place in the PAC 7 with Righetti. Arroyo Grande sits firmly in first with an undefeated league record. 

Thursday’s match helped the Greyhounds’ cause as they pulled in front of the Tigers (15-9, 5-3) and are all alone in second place. 

“Any time you’re tied for second, it’s a rivalry game,” Atascadero outside hitter Kendall Featherstone said. “Last time we faced them, we played well and got up but we couldn’t finish games. Tonight we were disappointed after giving up our lead, but we knew we could beat them after winning those first two sets.” 

Featherstone led the Greyhounds (16-10, 5-2) with 11 kills. She also added 20 digs and two aces and unleashed a smashing kill that found open space in the back of the court to put Atascadero ahead 14-12 in the final set. 

Featherstone also had a clutch kill to pull the Greyhounds to a 12-11 deficit in the fifth set with San Luis Obispo carrying the momentum. 

“Whenever I get a set where I want it, I’m trying to swing as hard as I can,” Featherstone said. “I’ve been working on getting my shots down all season.” 

Playing the complementary role, Brooke Harbottle provided some beautifully placed balls for Featherstone, as well as other Atascadero hitters, to feast on. Harbottle finished with 30 assists and 11 digs. 

Katherine Sedley finished with 10 kills, and Maren Cracknell posted eight kills and six blocks. 

In each of the first two sets, the Greyhounds  got off to good starts — taking a 15-5 lead in the first set and then a 13-7 lead in the second before closing out the games. 

But they had to battle back from a 12-10 deficit in the fifth.

“I’m so proud of their resiliency,” Atascadero coach Trent Lunceford said. “They really hung tough. This is a big win for us.” 

San Luis Obispo showed its fight in the third set, which displayed some sloppy serving by both sides. Together the teams accounted for 13 missed serves in the set.

But the Tigers benefited from consistent serving from Calli Hamari, who didn’t miss a serve the entire match, and recorded 23 digs.

Hamari rattled off a string of five serves to put the Tigers ahead 12-6 in the fourth set. 

And San Luis Obispo got some booming kills from sophomore Holland Boege, who tallied 11 in the match, and Anna Pedersen, who had 10. 

Freshman Kaitlyn Kimball added some slicing hits for kills; she logged eight kills in the match. Cambria Joyce added 32 assists. 

But the slow start was too tall of a task for San Luis Obispo to overcome and, despite some long rallies and hard-fought points, they fell victim to the Greyhounds. 

“I feel like we came out a little bit nervous,” Tigers coach Manny Carter said. “After the second set, I told them ‘Hey, you guys have nothing to lose. Just go out and play.’ ” 

Carter also said that Paige Cohune’s solid play at libero helped in the latter sets. 

“Second place is not out of reach for us,” Carter said. “At this point, it’s our best case scenario to finish strong and shoot for second.” 

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