Paso finishes season with three-straight road games

The Paso Robles girls volleyball team currently sits in third place in the Mountain League after splitting their games this week against the Righetti Warriors and Atascadero Greyhounds. On Tuesday night, the Bearcats celebrated senior night in what was a special game due to the fact the Crimson ‘Cats have eight seniors on their roster. While head coach Caleb Ferguson generally goes with a senior-laden lineup, on Tuesday night it was all seniors all the time as freshman Olivia Wright was the only non-senior to play and only did so for the final few points of the evening. 

Not only were the seniors — Becca Stroud, Sophie Prieto, Phoebe Corgiat, Madison Howard, Haylee Wescom, McKensi Keller, and Maizee Ross — celebrating the final home regular-season match of their high school careers but they also had a chance to accomplish a milestone that has evaded them for four straight years, a season sweep of their bitter rivals, the Atascadero Greyhounds. On Sept. 12, the Bearcats made the trip to Ewing Gymnasium and beat the Hounds in straight sets 25-14, 25-16, 25-20 for this group of seniors’ first-ever win under the orange and grey banners that hang from the rafters in Atascadero. After getting their first win in the dog pound in four years in the first round of league play, the Bearcats had the opportunity to take both on Oct. 8 and did just that, winning in straight sets once again. 

Gil Asa Gymnasium was packed and at nearly standing room only as the student section packed it in and the Bearcats even tried to fire up a smoke machine for warmups but to no avail. Paso Robles started the game with an all-senior lineup and for the first two games played only their most tenured girls and the energy in the arena carried them to victory. The Hounds, who are down two of their top three players and three of their top five girls up front, played their normal starting lineup but it was clear a few points into the match that it was going to be Paso’s night. While several of the seniors capitalized on their extra playing time, Corgiat received the same amount as usual but had the added motivation of it being her birthday and the intensity showed as she unleashed an arsenal of heat-seeking missiles upon the Greyhounds from start to finish and within seconds of the conclusion of the match had a pink sash bestowed upon her.

Howard spent the night showing off her hops as she scored several points on powerful swings while Ross and Wescom held down the defense making life hard for the Greyhound outside hitters. The Bearcats were firing on all cylinders in the first taking the game 25-13 and continued to dominate in the second winning 25-14. Even with back-to-back overwhelming losses in the first two games, the Greyhounds were not going to go down, in this game, without a fight and the third game was just that. Both teams battled back and forth with the teams never getting more than a few points away from the other and rather than take the chance of a Hounds’ victory followed by a rally, Ferguson elected to bring in Wright who quickly pounded a few balls into the corners and ended the final game 25-20 for the 3-0 victory. 

Following their senior night, the Bearcats had four consecutive home games to finish the season with a brutal two-game stretch playing at second place San Luis Obispo, also last season’s Division 4 State champion, before finishing up their season at reigning league champion Arroyo Grande who is currently undefeated in Mountain League play and 18-2 overall. 

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Thursday night, the Bearcats made the first trip on their three-week-long road trip and stumbled, losing to the Warriors in a heartbreaking five-set loss. Two of the Bearcats’ three league losses have come in five-set matches, the first coming against the Tigers when they led 2-0 before the Tigers came storming back, with Thursday’s being a come-from-behind rally that came up just two points short. After dropping the first two games 25-20 and 25-18 the Bearcats fought back to tie it at 2 after a thrilling fourth game needed an extra point to be decided ending 26-24 in Paso’s favor. Righetti took the deciding fifth set 15-13, sending the Bearcats home with the 3-2 defeat.