Tigers can’t SLO down top-ranked Chargers

If you were running a little late on your way to Dos Pueblos on Tuesday night, you might have missed the entire girls volleyball match.

It took a mere 58 minutes for the top-ranked Chargers (26-2) to dispatch visiting San Luis Obispo 25-15, 25-14, 25-18 in the first round of the CIF Division I-A playoffs.

Sammie Brown put away 16 kills on 21 attempts to lead the way for the hosts, who trailed just twice in the entire match (0-1 and 1-2 in the third set). The Notre Dame-bound senior said that the Chargers don’t ever take an opponent lighlty.

“Our philosophy is to play the same way no matter who we’re up against. We have to get something out of every match,” she said.

It was also a sister act at Sovine Gym. With sophomore Tristan Racich up from from the JV squad for the playoffs, three sets of sisters saw the court — Sam and Carly Wopat, Sammie and Nicki Brown, and Tristan and Taylor Racich. Both the Wopats and Racich sisters are twins.

Tristan Racich came in to play setter at the varsity level for the first time during the third game and promptly dished out a back-set to Sally Yingst for the kill.

“We have nine seniors on this team, but there’s definitely a lot of younger girls that provide depth and are going to fill the spots,” said Brown.

The Chargers committed five service errors in the first game but also had four aces and went on a 5-point run with Carly Wopat serving in the middle of the set that put things out of reach for the Tigers. Sally Yingst tallied one of her five aces to put DP up 8-2 early in the second set, and later on a kill in the middle by Kelcey Chaffin pushed it to 13-5. Yingst served her way through a 6-point run down the stretch, and Sammie Brown set her little sister for a kill that gave the Chargers game point at 24-12.

Sam Wopat notched three aces in a 4-point span early in the third set that put DP up 12-8 and forced a SLO timeout. Jordan Roberts came off the bench and notched an ace at 15-10, and the match ended minutes later on a Chaffin kill.

After heading into last year’s playoffs with the No. 1 seed and losing to Santa Barbara in the title match, the elder Brown insists that the “one match at a time” mentality is what the team is rallying around.

“Yeah, winning a title is definitely on everyone’s mind but that’s not how we want to think. That’s not going to help us be more successful,” she said.

The Chargers will play either Rim of the World or Claremont in Thursday’s second round, with the location to be determined.

(Photo courtesy of Randy Vasquez)