Arroyo Grande after perfect PAC 7 girls volleyball record

Eagles are one away from their second consecutive 12-0 league season after sweeping San Luis Obispo 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 on the road

nwilson@thetribunenews.comOctober 29, 2013 

Arroyo Grande High’s Alaina Hogeboom, left, passes the ball as teammates Juju Fuller and Kacee Fox (2) look on during the Eagles’ 3-0 win at San Luis Obispo on Tuesday in a PAC 7 girls volleyball match.

JOE JOHNSTON — jjohnston@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The last time the Arroyo Grande High girls volleyball team lost a PAC 7 league match was Oct. 20, 2011. 

And it looks like the Eagles won’t have to worry about their league streak being broken until next season. 

The Eagles swept San Luis Obispo 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 on Tuesday.

Arroyo Grande (19-8, 11-0) found a way to rebuild quicker than even some of its own players expected this season with one league match remaining against Paso Robles, currently the last-place team in the PAC 7 at 1-9.

Sophomore Ashlyn Herlihy, who stands nearly 6 feet, continues to shine as the Eagles’ powerful outside hitter. She posted a match-high 17 kills Tuesday. Herlihy notched 20 kills in each of Arroyo Grande’s past two matches against Righetti and Pioneer Valley.

“It’s really surprising in some ways how well we’ve done this year,” Herlihy said. “With only one senior on the team (Megan McGuigan), this was supposed to be our progression year. But I think we’ve learned to play with each other really well.” 

The Eagles held the advantage on the Tigers (16-10, 6-4) in the passing game.

Throughout the match, the Tigers found themselves scrambling far away from the net to get balls back over and extend rallies. 

But the first hits by the Eagles often were well-controlled feeds to setter Alaina Hogeboom close to the net. 

Hogeboom, a junior, tallied 35 assists, sharing the wealth with McGuigan and Jamie Walsh, who had six kills apiece. Kate Empey and Brynn Thoming had three kills apiece.

The Arroyo Grande attack featured a variety of slams, tips and some running slides, including a few that Herlihy finished off for points.

“I thought we did the little things well tonight,” Eagles coach Ernie Santa Cruz said. “We work on core positioning and passing — the kinds of things that aren’t necessarily fun in practice but they’re keys to success. We want to out-fundamental other teams.” 

Jenny Johnson led the Eagles during an early stretch in the second set at serve. The left-handed junior rattled off nine straight points, including two aces, to help build a 12-3 Eagles lead. 

“I dribble the ball three times because that calms me down,” Johnson said. “I try to always position the ball in the same spot. I love it when I get a bunch in a row.” 

For San Luis Obispo, the fight now is for positioning in league. They entered in a tie for second place with Atascadero, which faces fourth-place Righetti on Thursday at Righetti.  The Tigers finish the league season at St. Joseph and then at Righetti. 

Sophomore outside hitter Holland Boege led the Tigers with 10 kills while senior Anna Pedersen and freshman Kaitlyn Kimball each added five kills. 

“We were good at times,” San Luis Obispo coach Manny Carter said. “We had some bursts, but we couldn’t bring it together for longer runs. We’ve proven we can do it. We just have to play up to our potential.”

Kacee Fox tallied 19 digs for the Eagles. 

“We lost five seniors, and four all-PAC 7 players (to graduation) from last season,” Santa Cruz said. “But this year’s group has worked hard and bought what we’re selling about ball control and fundamentals.” 

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