Preps

Tuesday, Oct 09 2012 10:35 PM

Patriots stay on a roll

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Stockdale's Camille Campos dives for the ball during the game against Liberty at Stockdale High School on Tuesday night.

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Liberty's Kiki Robinson spikes the ball as Stockdale's Lauren Cline and Sydney Ralphs block her during the game at Stockdale High School on Tuesday.

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    By Shelby Mack / The Californian

    Stockdale's Layne Dillingham spikes the ball as Liberty's Kiki Robinson and Haylee Roberts block her during the game at Stockdale High School on Tuesday night.

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BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer zewing@bakersfield.com

Liberty volleyball coach Lean Slayton wouldn't give in.

Come on, coach, just one word about next Tuesday's Southwest Yosemite League showdown with Centennial?

Nope.

"We talk about it constantly: The next match is the one that matters," said Slayton, after her team won at Stockdale 25-16, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 on Tuesday. "The only game that matters is the one you're in."

And before the Patriots (16-2, 3-0 SWYL) tangle with the rival Golden Hawks (12-4, 3-0) for the first time this season, they have a Thursday match with Independence, then the California Challenge tournament this weekend.

And if Liberty, ranked No. 6 in the state and No. 39 in the country by MaxPreps, needed any reminder that it needed to focus on every match, Stockdale was there to provide it.

The Mustangs (13-11, 1-2) won four of the last five points of Game 3 and became just the second Central Section opponent to take a set off of Liberty this year.

"Occasional failure is a good thing," Slayton said. "You have to know how to react in that situation, and I thought we played loose and aggressive in Game 4, which is what we want."

Stockdale actually won the first three points of Game 4, too, but Liberty answered with a 7-1 run and never trailed again, taking the fourth 25-19.

Haylee Roberts, an Oregon commit, wasn't feeling well but still managed 14 kills and six blocks. Kiki Robinson had 13 kills and 15 assists, and Nikki Leonard made 10 kills and eight blocks.

"My head's on a spinner," Stockdale coach Maria Collatz said. "They come at you from everywhere. You think you've got one of them covered, and then two more come to get you. They're very well-rounded."

Liberty also plays some defense in the back row. Maddie Hubbell had 39 digs, and four other players -- Halle Harker, Taylor Harris, Maddie Demarco and Robinson -- had at least 13. "We played some amazing rallies," Slayton said. "Stockdale is a good team, and they kept coming, but we just never let the ball hit the floor."

For Stockdale, which has three sophomores and a freshman in its regular rotation, four players had at least five kills, led by Layne Dillingham's 10. Tatum Collatz had 29 digs, and Baylie Duncan had seven kills and 21 digs.

"I'm not disappointed," Maria Collatz said. "I wish we hadn't waited until the third game to play with nothing to lose, but we played well.

"I just think we don't need to see what Liberty is going to do before we play our game."

What Liberty will do, surely, is focus on Independence, then on the weekend tournament. And then, finally, on Centennial.

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