Eagles defeat Bearcats in straight sets

The Paso Robles Bearcats entered Tuesday night’s, Oct. 1, volleyball game with the Eagles with a chance to grab a share of the Mountain League title but their dreams were dashed, for now, as Arroyo Grande jumped out to a big lead and kept the pedal to the metal until it was all over 3-0. 

The Bearcats entered their Sept. 26 game against San Luis Obispo at 4-0 in the Mountain League and tied atop it with both the Tigers and the Arroyo Grande Eagles. Following their Sept. 24 victory over Templeton, the Bearcats were set up perfectly to make move at the title with both San Luis Obispo and Arroyo Grande coming into their house in the next two games, but they did not capitalize. 

Thursday’s game on Sept. 26 was the one the Bearcats needed because it came against the Tigers who are not only a Mountain League opponent, but a Division 2 opponent in the CIF Central Section playoffs, which is what made the loss even more heartbreaking. For all intents and purposes Paso Robles had the game in hand after battling to take a crazy first set 26-24, and cruised in the second set 25-12 but then the Tigers showed their resolve and battled back winning the next two sets to force a fifth and final game and stunned everyone in Gil Asa by walking out with a 3-2 win. 

Tuesday night, the Bearcats welcomed the 21-3 Arroyo Grande Eagles but did not appear to have the same energy and passion that they played with against the Tigers and AG capitalized. In the first game, the Eagles opened a 5-1 lead that they stretched to 18-10 forcing Bearcats head coach Caleb Ferguson to call a timeout a few points later. Trailing 22-12, Paso Robles made a spirited run closing the gap to six but it was too little too late as AG took the first game 25-19. 

The Bearcats had a better start in the second game and took their first lead briefly at 9-8, but just could not match the offensive power of AG as the Eagles went on a 12-3 run making it 22-12. Every time Arroyo Grande let off the gas, the crimson cats came flying back and did so in the second as they did in the first. Following AG’s 12-3 run, Paso Robles went on a 7-1 run but it wouldn’t be enough as the Eagles took the game 25-19 and eventually won in straight sets. 

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The Eagles’ size and serving presented problems for the Bearcats who could not find a way to get their offense in a rhythm. When the Bearcats are clicking Becca Stroud is working from sideline to sideline setting up huge shots for either Phoebe Corgiat or Olivia Wright but on Tuesday the Eagles’ height had the girls second-guessing their shots. 

After back-to-back losses, Paso Robles bounced back with a 3-0 win over Mission Prep on Saturday, Oct. 5, to get them back on track as they prepare to take on the two top teams again at the end of this month. If the Bearcats can stay perfect against the other teams in the Mountain League or take at least two of the games it will greatly help their playoff seeding and if they can get some help from the other teams they could potentially still bring home at least a share of the league crown. 

The last half of Paso Robles’ season will be tough as they finish the season with four consecutive road games starting in Santa Maria on Thursday, Oct. 10, when they take on the Righetti Warriors.