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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Large crowd cheers consistent Blue Devil volleyball team

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From page B1 | October 04, 2013 |

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DHS sophomore sensation Kendal Paulson (7) blocks a Franklin attempt in the Blue Devils’ sweep of the Wildcats on Thursday at The Cage. At right, Davis’ Maya Gilardi provides support. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

It took the Davis High girls volleyball team only three games to claim victory over Franklin in both squads’ Delta Valley Conference opener on Thursday night.

Thus, the record-setting 190 Blue Devil fans who packed into The Cage were collecting their belongings and heading to the door sooner than they’ve been accustomed to.

“We went out with a lot of enthusiasm,” said DHS head coach Julie Crawford. “(Thursday) was a very consistent match for us — it’s one of the things we worked hard on.

“We’ve had a lot of five-game matches, so one of our goals now is to try to beat teams in three. We did well at not letting up, and having the energy when we needed it.”

And it wasn’t just the usual Devil standouts who were to thank for convincing win. Kendal Paulson, a sophomore recently promoted from the JV squad, blocked two would-be kills to keep the momentum in Davis’ favor in the first game.

Much of the beginning portion of that contest saw the locals taming the Wildcats in long rallies. It was often Mackenzie Harrison (eight digs on the night) sending the ball to setter Samantha Moore (24 assists) who passed to Zoe Hunt-Murray for the finish, in an efficient system that shined early.

Hunt-Murray, who tallied 12 kills, cemented the 25-15 Game 1 victory by launching three consecutive serves that weren’t retrieved by Franklin.

The next game was just as much a show of the serving power of DHS (13-8, 1-0 DVC), with Hunt-Murray and Moore both serving up a pair of aces. Meanwhile, the Wildcats were struggling, and amassed five serving errors.

The serving domination continued later when junior Kimmy Siu had a trio of serves go unanswered by FHS. A 25-17 victory came soon after another junior, Maya Gilardi, cornered the ‘Cats with three quick kills. She finished with eight kills on the night.

Harrison’s digs became an essential part of keeping Franklin at arm’s length in the final set, while the blocks of Irene Rutazihana and Paulson also were vital.

The game concluded in an apropos manner: with Siu serving another two aces and Gilardi hammering down a kill that swept right by the Wildcats. The ending, a 25-21 Game 3 win, punctuated the Blue Devils’ strong performance.

“This was a great way to open our league (schedule),” Crawford said. “We wanted to set the tone, and establish a presence. We want teams to know that we can stay consistent.”

Davis travels to Grant on Tuesday for its next DVC battle, before staying on the road to face Laguna Creek on Thursday.

— Reach Brett Johnson at bjohnson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett.

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