The No. 3 seeded Templeton girls volleyball team took another step in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoffs Saturday night, with a straight-set win over Bell Gardens.
Templeton (27-7, 14-0 Northern) got off to a fast start, and then came from behind to win the second and third sets, 25-10, 25-21, 25-19.
“They played really well, especially that first set,” Templeton coach Cameron Schaeffer said of his team. “Bell Garden’s first set was their warm up and then they started getting into a rhythm.”
In the second set, the Northern League champions fell into a 6-1 hole. With his team looking to the sideline, Schaeffer decided not to call a time out. Instead, he let his team play through the slump.
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“I was definitely thinking about it,” Schaeffer said. “If they got to 7-1 I was definitely going to call a time out.”
But a kill from senior captain Lauren Ralston jump-started a mini run and got the momentum back on Templeton’s side.
“I have this thing where if they are getting into a rut, I just let them fight through it and then there will be a point where I will say, ‘OK, I’ll give them one more, then I’ll call it.’ ”
“But I’m not going in to panic mode, and they aren’t either. If they can struggle through it, it will make them stronger players,” he said.
Ralston finished the match with a team-high seven kills, including a kill to seal the match for Templeton.
The strongest player in the second set was Bell Garden’s Kayla Dickerson. She had seven kills in the game, but the timely hitting of Templeton’s Emily Burns led to a 9-1 run to win the set 25-21 and put the Eagles in control.
“When we were down, I knew the other team was fighting harder, therefore we had to fight harder,” Burns said. “So I saw the corner and that’s where I aimed every time and it ended up working.”
Burns finished with seven kills in the match, four of which came in the second set.
“Emily has a really nice line shot, and if she can get into a groove, into a nice rhythm, it’s amazing watching what she can do,” Schaeffer said. “She can get frustrated at times, but when she’s on, she’s on.”
It also helps Templeton to have Ralston, who is the co-captain with Burns and Hannah McRoy, as a leader on the floor when games get tight.
“Lauren has really been our leader this entire season,” Schaffer said. “She’s always talking, always encouraging everybody in practice to the point where she loses her voice.”
Templeton will look for its 10th win in a row when they take on Woodcrest Christian in the semifinals.
“It was a head rush definitely and if feels really good, from the heart,” Burns said after the win Saturday. “I don’t know a team that wants it more than my team and that works harder.”