Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons go down in 2nd round
The Forest Lake Christian Lady Falcons fell short of extending their playoff-run Thursday night losing to Vacaville Christian 3-1 on their home court, 22-25, 25-22, 9-25, 20-25.
The atmosphere was eclectic for the second round Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff game. Even during the timeouts fans in the stands chanted louder and louder as each second passed.
“I was yelling at our players from six feet away off the court and they couldn’t even hear me,” said head volleyball coach Travis Smith. “We have this super loyal core group of guys that support us every game. We’ll be returning the favor for them.”
The first set went to Vacaville 25-22 and saw 10 lead changes. Forest Lake Christian took control early building a 9-3 lead before Vacaville called a timeout to regroup. Vacaville then rallied to tie the game at nine with six unanswered points and eventually took a 14-13 advantage.
Forest Lake Christian combated with some kills of their own to tie the game at 19, 20 and 21 before Vacaville finally pulled away.
After the opening set the momentum had shifted and all pressure fell squarely on the shoulders of Forest Lake Christian.
Despite opening the second set a little flat and trailing by an 8-2 margin, like the Lady Falcons on the other bench before them, they too battled and came back to knot the game at 10. Forest Lake Christian maintained control after going up 17-16 and never looked back, with Morgan Koch’s exclamation point kill to win the set 25-22.
This wasn’t the first meeting between the two teams this season, they had met in the Carmichael Invitational in September with Forest Lake prevailing 2-0 in the best of three match.
The second set loss didn’t shake Vacaville Christian as they came out in the third storming ahead, building what seemed to be an insurmountable 15-0 lead. They dominated all phases of the game and took advantage of every mistake Forest Lake Christian made.
FLC tried to dig deep and pull themselves out of their slump, but just couldn’t get any type of rhythm going. The deficit proved to be too much as Forest Lake fell 25-9 and put themselves in a must win situation for the remainder of the match.
“I have all these girls in class as a teacher,” said Smith. “It’s great getting to know them outside of the classroom. My most favorite thing has been coaching Alyssa (Smith).”
The fourth set would end up being Forest Lake’s last of the season, but they didn’t go quietly. With their back now firmly against the wall FLC came out with a sense of urgency, quickly creating opportunistic hits and building a 6-1 lead. It wasn’t going to be that easy though as Vacaville Christian came roaring back to regain the lead 9-8.
Forest Lake Christian responded to reclaim the lead 10-9 and held on despite Vacaville tying the game four times. Eventually Forest Lake Christian surrendered the lead and fell behind 20-19 and could never recover. Vacaville Christian pulled away and could taste round three of the playoffs a little bit more with each point. The last point fell short on a ball hit into the net as Forest Lake Christian’s season came to a close.
“I’m most proud of how much they’ve grown and improved,” said Smith. “We’ll have seven seniors next year and I’ve coached them all since freshmen year.”
Koch led scorers with a season high 19 kills and five blocks.
“We had to score our points when she was in the front row,” Smith said. “Alyssa came up big and stepped it up tonight in the back, making those passes to Koch.”
Alyssa Smith finished with 21 digs, 12 service points and three aces. Hannah Zea had six kills. Emily Woodward contributed another six kills and three blocks. Aly English slammed down three kills and supported her teammates with 14 assists. Emily Pearce also provided the Lady Falcons with lots of opportunities dealing out 17 assists and three kills of her own.
To contact Sports Writer Brian Shepard, call (530) 477-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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