First published in the Oct. 21 print issue of the Pasadena Outlook.
Maranatha High School’s varsity girls’ volleyball team celebrated its 2021-22 senior class by earning its first home victory of the season against San Gabriel’s Gabrielino High in four sets, 17-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-19 last Tuesday.
Before the match, MHS recognized seniors Kam Asaoka, Mia Casillas, Maddie Kwan, Claire Mullin and Zoe Sabado with flowers and teammate speeches. Then, the team and fans had more to cheer about as the Minutemen won in comeback fashion after dropping the first set.
Sabado had four kills and a game-high 24 digs. Asaoka had three kills, three digs and one ace, while Kwan had three digs, two kills and one ace. Mullins recorded three assists, three digs and two aces.
“My senior captain, Kam Asaoka, she’s just solid no matter if the chips are down,” said head coach Michael Delhomme. “She is steady. She’s keeping everyone motivated. She’s staying focused. She never loses her grit; I mean, she is always present. And when we need a tough serve, she is right there.”
Maranatha was initially scheduled to host Northridge Heritage Christian in an Olympic League match but canceled for unconfirmed reasons. Delhomme said he attempted to find an opponent as late as Monday afternoon and was grateful to Gabrielino for its availability on short notice.
The fourth set was the Minutemen’s most dominant. Sophomore Lauren Nguyen had three aces and freshman Belen Casillas had one kill en route to a 5-0 lead.
Sophomore Abigail Yeoh contributed with a set-high six kills while Belen Casillas had four. Asaoka’s lone ace and several Gabrielino errors helped propel the Minutemen to a 25-19 set victory.
Yeoh helped carry the team offensively with 17 kills and four digs in four sets played. Nguyen ended the night with match-highs in aces (five) and assists (19). She also had six digs and four kills. Meanwhile, Belen Casillas had a fine match with 15 kills, eight digs and one ace.
Belen Casillas and Yeoh stood out in the third set, logging six and four kills, respectively. Mullins’ two aces and Nguyen’s two kills also highlighted the set as errors by Gabrielino helped the Minutemen win, 25-20.
In the second set, the Minutemen evened the match, 1-1, led by Nguyen’s two aces and one kill. Three kills by Belen Casillas and two from Yeoh, in addition to Maranatha’s only block of the match by junior Jada Dixon, helped solidify a second set victory, 25-18.
Dixon ended the contest with three kills and three digs.
“We’ve been working all year to get a home victory. Overall, it was a great night for our seniors,” Delhomme said. “I’m just happy that my girls, my seniors especially, got the victory. They’re probably going to ride this wave until graduation.”
Sophomore Tori Coates recorded 18 assists, four digs, two aces and one kill. Sophomore Chidera Abaelu had two kills while sophomore Kira Foster and junior Phoebe Lim added four and two digs, respectively.
Maranatha lost its regular-season finale at Sun Valley Village Christian, 14-25, 9-25, 14-25, last Thursday. The Minutemen finished fourth in Olympic League play with a 2-6 record (7-19 overall).