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Bishop Diego Breaks in New Gym Floor With a Volleyball Win Over Carpinteria

Defense and passing of Mary Nicole Ramirez sparks Cardinals in season opener

Lauren Holsted, Bishop Diego Click to view larger
Lauren Holsted of Bishop Diego hits off a Carpinteria blocker during match at the Brick House Gym. (Gary Kim photo)

The new floor at the Bishop Diego Brick House Gym was officially christened by Mary Nicole Ramirez of the girls volleyball team on Tuesday night.

Ramirez threw her body all over the shiny hardwood on several rallies to keep plays alive and spark the Cardinals to a 25-23, 25-7, 22-25, 25-18 non-league win over rival Carpinteria in the season opener for both teams.

Ramirez finished the night with 40 digs, was nearly flawless in serve receive and took some swings on back-row sets. 

“Senior leadership,” Bishop coach John Sener pointed out. “She and I talked about it right before the game: I said, ‘You’re going to be the catalyst for what happens on this court and this season. You’re one of the best athletes in this school and in this league, and you can control a game.’ And obviously she can control a game.”

Her defense and passing, along with the big hitting of Lauren Holsted, helped Bishop overcome a disjointed start to the match between former league rivals —Bishop is in the Frontier League and Carpinteria plays in the Tri-Valley League. 

The first set was plagued by numerous delays caused when the serving order on the scoresheet didn’t jive with the lineups that were on the floor.

“There were rotation issues on both sides of the net and there were some issues with the book,” Bishop coach John Sener explained. “I have to take full responsibility for the first set and the rotation we put these kids into, and it was incorrect. It was total coach’s error.”

Makena Burgner Click to view larger
Makena Burgner of Bishop hits against Carpinteria blockers Michelle Alpizar (10) and Amber Watkins. (Gary Kim photo)

He praised the referees for their patience and for allowing them to figure it all out.

“Once we got out of that nonsense then we started playing some volleyball,” said Sener.

Bishop survived the mess and won the first set by outscoring Carpinteria 4-2 down the stretch to break a 21-21 tie.

Holsted, who finished the match with 17 kills, pushed a tight set past the blockers for a 22-21 lead. Freshman setter Alina Urzua then fed middle Haley Hoidal for another point before Amber Watkins sided out for Carpinteria to make it 23-22. 

Holsted and Watkins traded side-out swings before Urzua went back to Hoidal for the winning kill.

“She did a tremendous job,” Sener said of his freshman setter.

There wasn’t much confusion -- or rotations -- in the second set as Urzua and Flor Bustos went on serving streaks of six and 10 points, respectively, for a 16-1 lead. Bustos had three aces in her run. The Cardinals finished the set with an ace by Ramirez.

The match finally got into a good flow in the third and fourth sets. 

In the third set, Carpinteria took a 22-19 lead, but Bishop fought back and tied the score a 22-22 on a tip by Ariana Morones, an ace by Bustos and a kill from Makena Burgner. 

The Warriors got the ball back on a Bishop hitting error and scored the last two points on a setting violation by the Cardinals and an ace serve by Michelle Alpizar.

Carpinteria has a strong setter in Mary Sawlaw. She did a nice job moving the ball around and dished out 18 assists.

"Her experience is a big plus on the court for us," coach Dino Garcia said.

Freshman outside hitter Amber Watkins led the Warriors' attack with seven kills, Sadie Mead contributed four kills and opposite Dianne Perez and middle Sarah Wiseman had three each.

Bishop opened up an 18-12 lead in the fourth set. Burgner chased down a ball off the court to keep a play alive and the Cardinals won the rally to go up 17-12. Urzua followed with a tough serve for the six-point lead.

Carpinteria picked up some momentum down the stretch and pulled to within three, 21-18, after an ace by Dianne Perez. 

Bishop regrouped, getting a block from middle Samy Mendosa and a kill from Halsted. 

Urzua fed Mendosa in the middle again and she delivered the final kill to give the Cardinals a win in the first match on their new floor.

“First game jitters for everybody… coaches include,” said Sener with a smile. “The other side of it is it’s really fun to see these girls get a win to start their season.”

Garcia was also positive about his team's play.

"It was a great way to start off the season and we are looking forward to more," he said.

Bishop Diego hosts Laguna Blanca on Thursday. Carpinteria plays next at Malibu in a TVL opener on Sept. 6.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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