Siena Urzua
Siena Urzua of Bishop Diego hits past Carpinteria’s blockers. Urzua led the Cardinals with 14 kills. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

Bishop Diego designed some surprise attacks for setter Alina Urzua, and the sophomore executed them to spark the Cardinals to a three-set sweep against rival Carpinteria on Tuesday night in a non-league girls volleyball match at the Carpinteria gym.

Urzua’s added offensive punch supported an all-around fine effort by Bishop Diego in a match where the teams traded runs of points. The Cardinal won 27-25, 25-23, 25-21.

“We played really well. It was probably our best match,” said Urzua, who finished with 10 kills. “We were on our ‘A’ game today.”

Urzua often caught the Warriors off guard by either hitting the second ball or dropping a set behind her head.

“I’ve done that in the last three games at game point,” she said of the back-set shooter.”

On the hitting the high pass to the net: “We’ve been working on that a lot,” she said.

“We practice it a lot,” Bishop coach Dillan Bennett said. “Alina is one of our best volleyball players, so we got to find ways within a game to set her the ball. If we got good ball control in the back row — and I think two of those three rotations we’ve got our best ball-control players back there — they’re encouraged to put the ball up high. 

“And Alina has done a great job just turning and hitting the ball on two, which is not an easy play.”

Bennett added that he and Urzua are on the same page about the game. 

Michelle Alpitzar and Alina Urzua

Alina Urzua,right, of Bishop Diego and Michelle Alpizar of Carpinteria battle at the net.  (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s a great situation for us because I believe we have a great relationship talking about the offense, and then she brings it from a leadership standpoint, too,” he said.

When Alina wasn’t taking a swings or dumping the ball,  she often set her younger sister, Siena. She led the team with 14 kills.

“We have her for only a practice and half or two a week,” Bennett said. “She’s a full-time club soccer player, so we’re lucky enough to get her for one of our two matches per week. We use her when we can.”

In the first set, the Cardinals rallied from a 22-19 deficit behind the serving of Amanda Garcia and the hitting of Siena Urzua. Siena delivered back-to-back kills to tie the score, and Bishop took the lead on consecutive hitting errors by the Warriors.

But Carpinteria rebounded to tie the score by winning a joust and scoring on a Bishop hitting error.

The teams traded points before Siena Urzua put away a tip and Alina Urzua followed with a service ace to take the set.

A pair of service aces by Emily Montoya helped Carpinteria during a four-point run to tie the score at 20-20 in the second set.

But the Warriors hurt themselves down the stretch with hitting errors and a service error.

“We more or less lost the game to ourselves rather than getting beat by Bishop,” said Carpinteria coach Dino Garcia. “The third set we gave away 16 points. It’s tough to win when it’s to 25.

“There was a little too much pressure and (the players) kind of felt it,” he added. “Hopefully, they’ll learn off it and solidify that mental game, which is the hardest part.”

Alina Urzua stunned the Warriors with a couple of two-ball spikes in the third set. Ashlyn Oxton gave the Cardinals the lead for good with a block and a kill. Her kill to make it 18-16 was set up by a Julia Gregson dig.

Two more hitting errors by Carpinteria followed by a pair Siena Urzua kills increased Bishop’s lead to 22-17. A tough serve from Garcia gave Siena Urzua the scoring opportunity on her second kill.

Alina Urzua fed her sister again to make it 24-18. 

Malia Shellabarger scored a couple of points for the Warriors before Alina Urzua surprised them with her back-set dump for the match-winning point.

Bennett praised the defense and passing of Garcia (12 digs) and Gregson (9 digs), the serving of Kai Pardo and play off the bench from backup setter Abby Carroll.

Shellabarger had five kills, two aces and 10 digs and Montoya picked up 24 digs to lead Carpinteria.

Bishop (4-5) hosts Providence on Thursday at 4 p.m. Carpinteria (2-3) opens Citrus Coast League play on Thursday at Fillmore.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.