With the CIF State volleyball playoffs coming back to the Clovis West gym Tuesday, it was a return back to the days when Rhonda DeRuiter’s girls would perennially compete for the state championship.
Hosting their first state playoff game since 2016 brought lots of excitement to No. 3 seed Clovis West.
Yet nobody was more excited for this game than senior Nia Scanlan.
“For a lot of our players, this is senior year, and this could be the last chapter of volleyball in our lives,” said Scanlan. “We want to keep playing until the next round, so that means playing hard and going after every ball we can.”
Scanlan – and the rest of the Clovis West squad – played gritty volleyball throughout their first round victory over the visiting No. 14 seed Valley Christian Warriors, winning in three sets, 28-26, 25-21, 25-19.
Clovis West led for the majority of the first set, and gained a commanding 23-17 lead late over Valley Christian.
Yet the Warriors answered with a dramatic 8-1 run to take a 25-24 lead over Clovis West.
Facing two set points for Valley Christian, the Golden Eagles held strong, going on a 4-2 run to close it out.
DeRuiter was instrumental in her team winning the set, calling two timeouts in crunch time to reorganize her girls.
“We were having a hard time siding out, so we called timeout and switched our game plan to match what they were doing offensively,” DeRuiter said. “That’s what those timeouts are for and it worked.”
The second set was another high-drama affair. Clovis West had many chances to pull away, but the Warriors stuck around and tied the set at 20.
Again facing pressure, the Golden Eagles responded with a 5-1 run to close the set.
The third set saw Clovis West go on a 8-0 run late to hold off the Warriors and win the decisive third set, 25-19.
With the victory, Clovis West will advance to the next round on Thursday, when they will host their state quarterfinal matchup against No. 6 seed Notre Dame.