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December 2, 2022

Volleyball | King City Mustangs keep playoff hopes alive with win over MVC

KING CITY — King City High School varsity girls’ volleyball team was on the brink of postseason elimination going into last Tuesday night’s pivotal match against Monte Vista Christian.

But with the game on the line, sophomore Amity Hearne delivered on four straight serves that helped the Mustangs beat MVC in four sets (25-21, 25-17, 15-25, 25-21) in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division.

“Just breathe and get it over,” Hearne said. “I was just trying to make sure we can get the ball in play, at least, so we can get the point. Not serve it in the net.”

With the win, King City finished with an 8-4 record in league play and tied for second with Pacific Grove High in the PCAL Mission Division standings.

But the fact the Mustangs beat MVC twice this season gives them the tiebreaker over the Breakers.

King City (14-8) earned the No. 6 seed in the Central Coast Section Division III bracket. They will play at No. 3 Sacred Heart Cathedral (18-11) in this week’s quarterfinals.

“We had a lot to play for tonight, a lot,” said King City coach Christine Luna.

The Mustangs went through a rough patch after losing ace player Lisa Villanueva to a torn ACL and four straight losses in league play.

Luna said she has six seniors who have been playing together for a while. So, they realized this one game could be a deciding factor to extend the season and it was all the motivation they needed.

“They were ready for it,” Luna said. “They knew that this is coming down to us right now and we gotta do this if we want it bad enough, and they did.”

The Mustangs had previously lost three five-set matches in league play prior to beating Monterey High on Oct. 20. They managed to bounce back and closed out Tuesday’s game in four.

“I think we just really wanted it,” Hearne said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily this team, it’s just that we fought for it and that’s what we needed to do.”

It was a tight match as expected but MVC looked locked in despite a couple of communication errors on the court.

MVC coach Natalie Picone called a pair of timeouts to settle the Mustangs, but it was King City that rolled on to win the opening set, 25-21.

The Mustangs continued to ride the wave and easily won the second set, 25-17.

“They played to win,” Luna said. “I told them, play to win for yourself, play to win for your team. Don’t play to give them a loss, play to get yourselves a win. I think that really set in with them.”

MVC came out with a sense of urgency in the third set and won 25-15, but the small unforced errors continued to plague them.

King City looked to run away with the fourth set after it jumped out to a 14-7 lead. However, the Mustangs went on a 6-0 run to pull within a point and then eventually tied it at 21-all.

“I feel like they have great hustle, great skills, so I will give them that respect,” MVC senior Isa Madrigal said. “But I think that we do, too.”

With the game in her hands, Hearne delivered four serves to perfection and helped King City to pull away, 25-21, en route for the victory.

“Through my head I’m going, ‘Defense, don’t fail me now,’” Luna said. “Nothing hits the floor without you guys going for that ball 100% and that’s what they did.”

Hearne said her coach just simply reminded them they needed to push hard and believe in each other so they could extend the season.

“If we make it to the playoffs, hopefully we can push through that game and hope we move on from that, too,” Hearne said.

Next, the Mustangs will play at No. 3 Sacred Heart Cathedral in the CCS D-III quarterfinals on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.

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