With only one point away from winning the game, family and friends’ eyes were glued to the court as sophomore Chad Talaugon dove to save the dropping ball which would eventually win the game. Wednesday night’s game at Cabrillo Middle School marked the team’s first win of the season. The Dragons defeated Hueneme High School with an overall score of 3-1 and with individual set scores of 18-25, 25-15, 27-25, and 25-23.
Sophomore Kyle Cobian served the ball to signal the start of the game and the team quickly scored. However, the Vikings came back and scored four consecutive points until sophomore Collin Weaver was able to get one over the net, bringing the score up to 2-4.
Sophomore Jerod Frederick scored quickly after sophomore Chad Talaugon dove for the ball and saved it from touching the ground. The teams battled back and forth, but Foothill ultimately lost the first set of the game 18-25.
Coach Janine Cobian felt the team started the first set a “little slow.”
“I think our only weakness sometimes is when we start games we get a little intimidated because we are so young and we are a little raw. So I think they see bigger, older kids come in […] and they get a little scared,” Cobian said.
However, she believes that “it’s just a matter of [the team] getting into [their] rhythm” and “[being] confident when they come in and know what they can do.”
Hueneme served the ball and quickly scored the first point of the second set, but Foothill fought back, and the crowd cheered loudly as the sixth consecutive point was scored for the Dragons. Talaugon later tipped the ball over the net, driving the score up to 15-4. Sophomore Dylan Moore slid across the court after he successfully saved the ball from hitting the ground, awarding the Dragons another point.
Frederick served the ball, winning an ace and another point for the Dragons, bringing the score to 22-10. Junior Ian Overton scored the last point of the set for the Dragons, ending with a second set score of 25-15.
Kyle Cobian scored the first two points of the third set with two aces in a row. These were two of the six aces that he scored throughout the game. The teams were tied 6-6 until the Dragons were given another point due to a double hit on the opposing team.
Tresa Peraza, Hueneme’s varsity coach, was given a yellow card for stalling the game. According to Cobian, this was the “turning point” in the game for the Dragons.
The Dragons worked together to score another point for their team. Sophomore Dylan More attempted to save the falling ball with his foot, but was unsuccessful. However, More redeemed himself by scoring the next point for the Dragons 9-12.
According to Cobian, it was a “close set.” However, the Dragons were able to come out with a 27-25 point win in the third set of the game.
“We had so many scrambling plays where there was everybody involved. There was like four guys on the flour and we were [still] getting it over,” Cobian said.
Cobian felt that there were “many amazing plays” throughout the third and fourth set of the game.
The fourth set began when Hueneme served the ball. Frederick was able to spike the ball over the net and win the first point of the set for Foothill. The ball bounced back and forth and the Dragons fell slightly behind 4-7. Weaver successfully jumped and blocked the ball, winning a point 9-12. The teams took turns scoring bringing the score to 14-18.
After a short timeout, the game resumed. The Dragons won the first point and went on to score seven points in the game, giving them a one-point lead 21-20. The teams were neck-and-neck as they competed in what Talaugon felt was a very “intense” set.
The score was 24-23 and the Dragons only needed one point to win. Hueneme hit the ball and it deflexed off a Foothill player who attempted to block it. Talaugon dove for the ball and pancaked it, saving it from hitting the ground. Moore then popped the ball over the net, scoring the last point of the game 25-23.
“It was awesome. [Last season] we started off super raw, we were super new. But coming out against this really established team, [who] really killed us last year, and just coming back and like fighting for all of it was just super awesome,” Talaugon said. “It was just a lot of fun for everyone.”
Talaugon was worried the team would have defensive and passing challenges throughout the game. However, he felt that the team was passing and connecting “really well.”
Frederick also thought the team’s “passing had improved tremendously since last year.” He believes that the team has more “chemistry” and has become “kind of like a family.”
“I think we played the best we ever have […] I think we are just like more cohesive as a team and we hit them in the jaw tonight,” Frederick said.
Cobian was “excited” to see “some really big hits” and “fancier things” that the team never saw during last year’s season. She believes this will help the team reach their goals of making it to CIF.
According to Cobian, the team played “well” on Wednesday night and is excited for the rest of the season.
“It was just such a joy to be a part of it because it was just so fun and they were just positive, they didn’t get down even when they were losing. They just kept chipping away,” Cobian said. “It was a good night. The boys played fantastic. I am very proud.”
Background Photo Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press