It was a battle of the titans but one that the Eagles, rather than the Titans, claimed.
The Templeton and Nipomo high girls volleyball teams faced off against each other Tuesday night as the only undefeated teams in the Los Padres League.
Templeton (14-9, 4-0 LPL) took the match 3-1 on the road against the Titans (10-6, 2-1) —winning 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18.
The play featured powerful spikes on both sides of the net, long rallies and full extension diving digs that entertained a gym full of raucous fans for both teams that seemed to grow louder as close sets came down to the wire.
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“It was very intense,” said Nipomo’s Taylor Nevitt, a 6-foot-1 junior middle blocker, who tallied eight kills. “There was a lot of scrambling for the ball in tough points and we’re exhausted. But now we know how they play and we’ll move ourselves around to fix some things and come back with more energy next time.”
Paige Waymire of Nipomo (27 kills) and Heather Fields of Templeton (23 kills) led their teams at the net by trading booming spikes throughout the match. Sydney Roth had 50 assists and six aces for the Eagles.
Templeton coach Jodi Kelly credited her team’s ability to slow down Waymire to some extent by returning or blocking some of her powerful hits as well as strong serving.
“Paige is a big hitter and we did try to do some things to block her and defend her,” Kelly said. “I thought we served the ball extremely well tonight and served them out of their system several times.”
By that Kelly said she meant Nipomo wasn’t able to capitalize on returns that utilized their setter to present balls for spikes as much they might have liked.
Roth was the thorn in Nipomo’s side, rattling off 11 straight points in the third set in a run that helped Templeton take a 20-13 lead before Nipomo battled back to 23-23 before losing the set on two aces from Carly Roth.
In the fourth set, Sydney Roth served two aces during a run of four points for the Eagles behind her serve.
A seesaw battle in the second set included several lead changes, and the teams were only a point apart throughout until Templeton took the first two-point advantage of the set at 19-17.
Nipomo fired back behind the play of Kiana Worth, who pumped her fist to fire up the crowd and helped Nipomo gain a 20-19 lead on three service points to help the Titans take the set. Worth had four aces in the match.
Sarah Stahl recorded 58 digs for Nipomo, and Lindsey Wyatt had 40 digs as both players deftly handled rocket shots off spikes to stay in points. Carly Roth had 14 kills, and Autumn Russell had 11 for Templeton while Christina Ozzimo helped her team’s cause with 43 assists for Nipomo.
Nipomo coach David Cassidy said the loss will push his team to come back more determined and “give them fire” for the rest of their league matchups.
“We let them have it because of too many errors,” Cassidy said. “This is a blessing because next time we play Templeton we’ll have a lot of drive. We’re pretty evenly matched teams and we just struggled with some things today.”
With a win over Santa Ynez earlier this month, a team which hadn’t lost in league play in seven years and coming off a five-match win streak before Tuesday, Nipomo has shown it’s a contender this season.
“That was a really good feeling to beat Santa Ynez,” Nevitt said. “We’re a team that’s definitely still in the fight for the title this year.”