The young Pirates girls’ volleyball team started strong this week but struggled to finish matches. Tuesday night, the Pirates hosted Atascadero. Aly Squires’s 15 kills, Rachel Szeyller’s eight kills and four aces, and Emilie Newtons’ five kills led the Pirates.

“As a scrimmage, we controlled the match and played well with solid contributions by everyone,” said coach Chip Fenenga.

On Sept. 10, the Pirates hosted No. 6-ranked Arroyo Grande. Between Squires’s nine kills and the setting of Delanie Stapp, the Lady Pirates won game one, 25-22. Emotionally sky-high, the Pirates were brought down to earth when Squires had to leave the match with a sprained ankle at the end of game two.

Trying to regroup, the Pirates lost game two, 25-23 and game three, 25-15.

 

“Sage Perry and Ellen Hemming were hitting well, but we struggled getting first-ball kills,” the coach said.

A bright spot was the play of middle hitter Danielle Carlson, who hit a sparkling .641 and added 11 kills, five digs and four aces.

“She started the match with a thundering quick set kill and just stayed on a roll all night,” Fenenga said. The Pirates took command of game three with early leads of 15-12 and 22-20, but could not close out the Eagles, ultimately losing 27-29.

“We really grew up this match and battled back,” Fenenga said. “Rachel Szeyller passed well and led us with 16 kills.”

On Friday, the Pirates traveled to the San Luis Obispo tournament where they played without Squires, losing to Camarillo 22-25, 25-23, 15-14 and La Reina 25-16, 25-22.  Newton and Carlson combined for 12 stuffs and added five jump-serve aces.

 

“Both Mackenzie Mexico and Stapp move the ball around well, getting all their hitters involved,” the coach observed. “Even though we lost, I was impressed with our growth and the play of Ellen Hemming and Sage Perry taking over for Squires’s absence, the middle blocking and Rachel Szeyller’s hitting.”

Saturday, the team continued tournament play losing to No. 1 seed Buchanan out of Fresno, 25-14, 25-22. Squires was able to return and sparked the Pirates in game two with key digs and kills.

Next up were the Oxnard Yellowjackets, who knocked the Pirates out of the playoffs with a 25-22, 12-25, 15-13 win. Annika Bastanchury had a run of 12 points in the second game after Carlson started the Pirates out to a 5-0 lead with her jump serve.

“We played a lot of volleyball and were in all the matches but had trouble closing things out,” coach Fenega said. “Now it is time to recalibrate and try to respond positively as we have a lot of volleyball to play.”

On the heels of their Tuesday match at Nipomo, the Pirates play Thursday against visiting Pioneer Valley.

—Staff Report