Wildcats dig deep for outright title


   HEMET Paloma Valley boys volleyball player David Hamilton saw Thursday’s dramatic five-set win at Hemet as an indication of how far his team has come.

   For Hemet coach Bob Jensen, it was more about the distance his team has to go.

   After saving two match points to avoid a three-set sweep, Paloma Valley battled back for a 20-25, 23-25, 28-26, 25-18, 15-11 win, wrapping up outright possession of the Sunbelt League title.

   The Wildcats are 16-6, 11-0. Hemet, which lost in five sets 
for the second straight match, falls to 14-8, 8-3.

   “Our team has come so far from when I came here last year,” said Hamilton, a junior. “We’ve improved a lot on the little things. That helped us out in this game.”

   Hamilton said it was “just one play or two” that turned the match around, “and then everyone got on board … and the block (improved).”

   Paloma Valley coach Katie Bradley saw the win as a display of her team’s character.

   “They just showed that they wanted this league championship,” she said, “and that they had the heart to get on the floor and play some defense.”

   Hamilton had 17 kills and 10 digs for Paloma Valley. Michael Sanchez had 13 kills and 11 digs, and Justin 
Ramoshad 12 kills and 12 digs — all of which reflected the Wildcats’ balance, Bradley said.

   Setter Darren Fabricante had 12 digs and 49 assists.

   For Hemet, Tristin Skinner had 15 kills, Jared Walsh had 12 and Jacob Hill had eight, along with 14 digs and five service aces. Eddie Villasenior had 35 digs.

   “The third set came, and their discipline and experience took over,” Jensen said. “A lot of the young (Hemet) players haven’t been in this situation before. But I’m glad they’re getting this experience, because we’re still getting better, which is really scary.

   “I think it’s really good for us. When we get to CIF, I think we’ll do a lot better. We’ve gotten better every 
single time.” Paloma Valley can complete a perfect league schedule with a win Tuesday over Hemet West Valley. That match will also determine if West Valley or Hemet finishes second.


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