The Bakersfield Christian High School volleyball team belied its youth with a veteran-like performance against Independence on Wednesday night.
Despite fielding two freshmen and two sophomores in its starting lineup, BCHS edged a tough Falcons squad 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 16-25,15-10 in a thrilling non-league match.
"Honestly I couldn't be happier," BCHS coach Mystie Goodban said. "We have a young team. ... Tonight was a big game and they stepped up and played hard. I'm happy."
After failing to put away the Falcons in Game 4, the Eagles rallied from a point down to gain control for good with three straight aces by senior setter Jayann DeHoog.
DeHoog turned in a spectacular, all-around effort, racking up 17 assists, 13 digs, 10 kills and five aces as BCHS improved to 6-1 in its last seven matches while handing Independence just its second loss of the season.
"We just came together," DeHoog said. "Everyone did their job and we just played like we wanted it."
Kayla Martin had 32 kills and 18 assists for the Falcons, who dominated at times but also made numerous costly mistakes, many of them while serving.
"I think we made a lot of unforced errors throughout the entire match," Independence coach Judy Rexroth said. "I give it to Bakersfield Christian. They didn't make a lot of errors, so good for them."
The Eagles played steady throughout, especially on defense where they made Martin and freshman Breana Runnels (14 kills) work hard for every point.
Brookie Bell led the Eagles with 23 digs followed by Phoebe Graham, Hadley DeQuillettes and DeHoog with 13 each.
BCHS (11-4) spread the ball around on offense as Stormy August was the team's co-leader with 10 kills.
The match was a homecoming of sorts for Rexroth, who led BCHS to a state title in 2006. She is also DeHoog's current club coach.
"Every match is important," she said. "I think the girls wanted to win but we're looking for playoffs. We have a hard league coming ahead of us. So it's good for us to get our bad playing out of the way early. We have to get ready, refocus for Madera this weekend and then our league starts. We have a lot to work on. We have a very young team."
After the Falcons (7-2) pulled out much needed wins in the second and fourth games, it was the Eagles that demonstrated their moxie in Game 5.
A Martin kill that landed just in-bounds extended Independence's lead to 8-6 in the race to 15.
But DeHoog quickly answered with a perfectly placed shot into the back corner to cut the Eagles' deficit to one before she calmly delivered three straight serves that handcuffed the Falcons.
"I knew we had to serve aggressive against this team," DeHoog said. "And I knew I could serve aggressive and keep it in. ... "I wanted that game so bad for our team. It's just amazing."
Goodban, who called the win her team's biggest of the year, remained calm and composed during the critical fifth game. Her team followed suit.