Girls’ Volleyball pulls off comeback over rival St. Bonaventure followed by a celebratory Senior Night sweep over Laguna Blanca


Quinn Kennedy

Maliah Juker ’22 and Aimee Kidwell ’22 block a spike from the opposing team and score a point.

Sam Noah and Malia Sanchez

Sept. 28

The Cabrillo Middle School gym buzzed with anticipation as the Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) girls’ volleyball team prepared to face their rivals, the St. Bonaventure Seraphs, on Sept. 28.

The first set began with the Seraphs immediately pulling ahead, putting two points on the board before Foothill Tech. The Dragons’ first point was made by Maliah Juker ‘22, but their rivals continued with their lead.

Foothill Tech attempted to close the point gap when Ashlyn Mullin ‘24 had a kill, bringing the score to 15-14, but St. Bonaventure didn’t let up, causing the Dragons to call a timeout at 18-14. Ultimately the Seraphs dominated the set, eventually winning 25-18.

After winning the first match, St. Bonaventure carried the energy into the second, opening with an ace. The Dragons battled, pulling ahead 5-4 after an ace from Rebekah Sokoloski ‘22. Foothill Tech tailed St. Bonaventure but the Seraphs managed to stay ahead, causing the Dragons to call a timeout at 15-10.  Just as it seemed there would be no coming back, the Dragons began to close the gap, gaining six consecutive points.

Now neck and neck with a score of 22-19, the intensity of the game increased as fans were up on their feet cheering and waving their pom-poms. The Seraphs fought back with determination, but with a score of  24-20, the Dragons only needed one point to take the set. With a final serve from Paige Slavich ‘22, the Dragons claimed victory in the second set.

Just coming off a win, the team began strong with Adrianna Rodriguez ‘23 putting the first three points on the board. The Seraphs countered and pulled ahead. The back-and-forth game led to a timeout, as Foothill Tech resumed their point streak before triumphing with a final score of 25-19.

The next game started off with a serve from St. Bonaventure, resulting in a two point lead for the Seraphs. Juker put the Dragons’ first point on the board, then after a long rally, Sokoloski spiked the ball to tie the game. The teams went head to head and following a  timeout, the Seraphs pulled ahead 18-14. Foothill Tech retaliated with a massive 12 point streak, bringing home the win and taking down their rivals. 

The Dragons Coach Kris Gullatt commented that the team, “played with passion and a willingness to want to work hard.” The team fought until the very end, coming back from the first loss with a three game win streak. 

Slavich said, “[St. Bonaventure] played really competitively but we did too. We were just more consistent.” 


Oct. 7

Going into the home stretch of their regular season the team was riding a streak of three consecutive wins against league opponents; a run which culminated in their authoritative 3-0 Senior Night victory over the Laguna Blanca School Owls on Oct. 7.

The game was preceded by the traditional festivities of Senior Night, highlighted by the juniors and sophomores on the team reading the senior’s heartfelt reflections on their volleyball careers. After every senior received customized gift bags and flowers and took pictures with family, the Foothill Tech Dragons were ready to play. 

Fittingly, the match started with Aubrey Mullin ‘22 serving and scoring eight straight points before the Owls finally got on the board. The Dragons continued to increase their lead with very little resistance, and the seniors rightfully shined.

Kills and a few aces from the senior starters were commonplace, specifically from Sokoloski, Juker and Aimee Kidwell ‘22. With some help from Ashlyn Mullin along the way, the seniors propelled the Dragons to a cruising first set win which was finished off by a tip from Karyme Fierros ‘22 and an ace from Rodriguez.

Foothill’s varsity team huddle together during a time out and plan their next play. (Quinn Kennedy)

Juker foreshadowed the result of the second set by starting it off with a kill. Another senior contributed a highlight when Kristina Efner ‘22 dug an Owl hit off the floor and over the net for a point. A block from Juker, kills from the Mullin sisters and aces from Efner were supplemented by kills from Sokoloski and Kidwell to allow the Dragons to rip off a 10-0 run, giving them a 21-6 lead. 

The last three points of the set ended up being the highlight of the night, with monstrous kills from Sokolowski, Juker and Sokoloski again to finish the set at 25-7.

The third and ultimately last set picked up right where the previous one finished, with kills from Sokolowski and Juker, separated by an ace from Rodriguez giving the Dragons a quick 3-0 advantage. The Dragons experienced their one and only difficult stretch at this moment. The Owls fought hard to keep the game tied in a back and forth manner, and poor passing and serving by the Dragons had the game tied at 14-14. 

Kills from Juker and Ashlyn Mullin gave them a short-lived lead until Laguna Blanca had three kills in response to tie the game at 18-18. After a timeout to regather, Ashlyn Mullin again gave the Dragons a point and was supported by another kill from Kidwell and ace from Efner.

More poor passing and hitting from Foothill Tech saw them fall behind 24-21, leaving them no choice but to claw their way back. A kill for the Dragons, hit out of bounds by the Owls, an ace from Rodriguez and a dig from Efner brought them even at 24-24. 

With the gym on pins and needles, the Dragons served the ball into play. The Owls set their outside hitter who began her attack before it was thunderously denied by Aubrey Mullin and Juker on a tandem block. Now having the advantage at 25-24, the Dragons again served until the ball eventually fell on the Laguna Blanca half of the court to deliver Foothill Tech to a 26-24 victory.

The Dragons celebrated joyously after securing the sweep of the Owls on the seniors’ special night. 

Efner and Aubrey Mullin spoke on the importance of the night, saying, “[it was] emotional, it’s sad realizing this was our last night,” and, “I thought it was really fun, it’s sad to go but also happy for our new journeys ahead.”

When reflecting on the season, coach Kris Gullatt voiced his satisfaction with how the team was playing, “there’s been a big turnaround, the girls are playing much much better than the first half of the league season.” 

Looking into the future, the Dragons will look to play their way into California Scholastic Federation (CIF) qualification after finishing league play tied for first. 

Gullatt is confident in his team’s abilities, “we are finally starting to hit our stride and get better and better and better, and I think the girls are starting to see what they’re capable of.”

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