ILH Girls Volleyball
Le Jardin staves off Damien to win ILH season opener


Sat, Aug 27, 2022 @ Le Jardin [ 1:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
DMS (7-4) 23 25 27 19 - 1
LJA (12-0) 25 16 29 25 - 3
Kill: S. Walker (LJA) 23 kills

It might have been both teams' season opening matches, but it felt like a lot more than just win number one on the season was at stake.

Led by a 23 kill performance by Sydnee Walker,  Le Jardin eked out a four set win over Damien, 25-23, 16-25, 29-27, and 25-19.

"It was pretty big," said Walker. "it was a really good chance to see how we can match up with these teams we're going to be competing against."

Today's game looked poised to head to a full complement of sets, as it did in the teams' only meeting in 2021, where Damien won that battle, 25-21, 22-25, 15-25, 25-22, 15-13, but Walker and company took care of business in the fourth to deny the Monarchs.

Set one started rough for the home team, as they trailed 12-7 midway through the first, plagued by what appeared to be some early jitters in the serve-recieve game that kept the Bulldogs uncharacteristically out of system. But Le Jardin settled in the back half of the set and took the win in set one on a Damien miscue.

The second set saw Damien speed ahead in the latter half, building a double-digit cushion at 23-13 on a Kiana Cueto kill, and eventually leveling the match at 1-all on another Cueto kill.

Set number three was a pivotal one, and both teams played like it was. After 25-all, Damien held off Le Jardin at set point five times, before the Bulldogs finally got the winner off a Diersbock kill, her fifth of the set.

Leighland Tagawa | SL    Purchase image

"That was when we really kind of started to loosen up," remarked Walker. "And we play better when we're looser."

Set four found the two teams trading points through to 12-all, where Le Jardin mounted a mini run, jumping out to a 16-12 lead on a Sydney Kennedy swing, a margin that the Monarchs would not be able to close out on. A key moment came on an over pass that resulted in a free swing by Gennezia Hawkins, who terminated the point and flashed a rare smile.

"She's being trying to do that for a long time," laughed Walker. "She was happy she got that one."

From there, Walker put the finishing touches on the match, putting down the final two points for the Bulldogs to end it.

Damien had a trio of hitters hit double digits, led by Kiana Cueto with 17. Kaila Kalama-Bajet added 15 kills and Kody Wengler had 12.

Hawkins had a game-high 41 assists and added six kills in the match. Her setter counterpart Kenna Wengler had 37 assists and five kills for Damien.

The Monarchs registered 11 aces but the Bulldogs outblocked their opponent with 15 total blocks to just five for Damien.

Both teams will face off again this season on Sept. 20, this time a home match for the Monarchs set for 6 p.m.

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