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Calexico High senior Liah Valdez goes up for a kill during the Bulldogs’ Imperial Valley League match against Holtville inside Varner Gym in Calexico on Thursday, Oct. 14. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs Fall to Vikings

During Senior Night in Varner Gym, Calexico Takes Key IVL Loss from Holtville

CALEXICO — The Calexico High School volleyball team celebrated Senior Night with a key Imperial Valley League showdown against Holtville in Varner Gym here on Thursday, Oct. 14, but the Vikings’ outlasted the Bulldogs, 3-1.

Holtville (7-0 in IVL, 24-5 overall) clinched the IVL championship on Saturday, Oct. 16, with a victory in Brawley. The league standings heading into the final week has the Vikings on top, followed by Calexico (3-2 in IVL, 22-8 overall), Brawley (3-3 in IVL, 13-11 overall), Imperial (2-4 in IVL, 11-18 overall) and Southwest (0-6 in IVL, 8-23 overall).

The Bulldogs will be busy in the final week, hosting Southwest at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, traveling to Brawley for a 6 p.m. start on Wednesday, Oct. 20, then concluding the regular season at Imperial at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21. Calexico, competing in the CIF-San Diego Section Division III, is hoping to garner to top-8 seed for playoffs to secure a home match in the first round.

Calexico High senior Yady Zavala (7) delivers a kill in front of Holtville junior Skylar Hanson (13) during their Imperial Valley League match inside Varner Gym in Calexico on Thursday, Oct. 14. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO

“My message to them this week is to continue to work hard and fight,” said Humberto Sierra, Calexico’s head coach. “We know we can’t win league but let’s get second and get in the top 8 for CIF and get a home match in the playoffs.”

Against the Vikings, Holtville won the first set 25-21, then Calexico tied it with a 25-22 win in the second set. The Vikings won the third set 25-14 and had to rally from a 17-7 deficit in the fourth game to win 26-24.

Senior Yady Zavala led the way for Calexico with 18 kills, followed by senior Perla Lomeli with 10 kills and senior Ariadna Orozco with seven. In the back row it was senior Shanelle Gascon leading the Bulldogs with 38 digs, followed by senior Natalie Gonzalez with 29.

Senior setter Andrea Lopez had 36 assists for Calexico.

For Holtville, sophomore Jasmine Garewal had 27 kills, followed by senior Orian Anderson with 14. Anderson also had 21 digs from the back row, with junior setter Sofie Irungaray finishing with 15 digs and 43 assists.

On Monday, Oct. 11, the Bulldogs beat Palo Verde Valley of Blythe 3-0 in a nonleague home matchup. Calexico cruised to the win, 25-12, 25-7, 25-13.

Zavala led the way with 14 kills with senior Liah Valdez chipping in with seven. At the service line, Lomeli and Zavala had eight aces each while Lomeli and Gascon had 22 digs each from the back row.

The Bulldogs hosted San Luis, Ariz., on Wednesday, Oct. 13, sweeping the Sidewinders, 25-7, 25-14, 25-11.

Valdez had seven kills to lead the way, followed by Lomeli, Orozco and junior Brianna Sanchez with six kills each. Gascon was a digging machine in the back row with 31 in the three sets, while Lopez had 20 assists as the Bulldogs’ setter.

The seniors on the Calexico High School volleyball team celebrated Senior Night on Thursday, Oct. 14. The seniors, from left, are Shanelle Gascon, Liah Valdez, Alyssa Galaviz, Andrea Lopez, Natalie Gonzalez, Perla Lomeli, Ariadna Orozco and Yady Zavala. | CATHI PHILLIPS LARIOS PHOTO
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