EASTVALE — The Roosevelt girls volleyball team was in a hole for much of the opening set.
Mustangs coach Patti Zarate had simple explanation for her team’s early struggles Monday.
“We are just slow starters,” Zarate said. “We just have to settle in and get on a roll.”
Roosevelt battled back to capture the first set and rolled from there, sweeping Great Oak 25-23, 25-22, 25-10 in a nonleague match between a pair of undefeated volleyball teams.
“I think it came down to our want to win,” said senior outside hitter Terra Whitaker, who finished with a match-high 16 kills. “We’ve been on a good roll and just want to continue that.”
Great Oak (10-1) grabbed an 8-4 advantage in the opening frame and held an 18-16 later in the set.
Roosevelt rattled off six straight points to take its first lead and did it with Whitaker standing on the service line. Mia Goettsche recorded a pair of kills in the run and added another to put the Mustangs on set point. Alexus Suksdorf ended the frame with her second kill of the match.
Roosevelt (9-0) raced out to a 12-4 lead in the second set, highlighted by three kills by Whitaker and three aces by setter Jadyn Ellecion. Great Oak chipped away at the deficit, drew level at 19 and even took a 21-20 lead. Sarah Wilson led the charge for the Wolfpack with six kills in that set.
Roosevelt recovered, however, and won four of the final five points to wrap up the second frame.
“When we remain disciplined and they listen to what I’m asking, we’re good,” Zarate said. “We have had some struggles in those crunch moments, but they were able to stay focused.”
Roosevelt finished the match with 13 aces, and tough serving helped the Mustangs take the lead in the third frame. Malia Capistrano and Celeste Paez each served up two aces to help give Roosevelt a commanding 15-6 lead. The Mustangs had no trouble putting things away this time, closing the match with a 7-1 run to register their seventh sweep of the season.
Zarate praised the play of her back-row players, who extended rallies with some big digs.
“I believe our defense is the best in league and the entire Inland Empire,” junior libero Rylie Sendgara said. “We work very hard and chase the ball around to get every ball up.”
Goettsche finished the match with seven kills, and her older sister, Ava, added six kills for the Mustangs. Ellecion had a match-high six aces to lead the serving effort for Roosevelt.
Wilson registered 12 kills to lead Great Oak, and Hannah Kott added seven kills for the Wolfpack.
Roosevelt will square off against another unbeaten team Thursday evening when it hosts Etiwanda (8-0).