Riverside Poly girls volleyball team holds off Hemet in Ivy League action

RIVERSIDE — The Riverside Poly girls volleyball team served up something special Thursday evening.

The Bears registered at least four aces in every set and finished with 23 aces in the match en route to beating Hemet, 25-21, 23-25, 26-24, 25-15 and remaining undefeated in Ivy League play.

Poly middle blocker Nadia Lewis #16 and Poly middle blocker Aurora Elder #20 try to block the shot of Hemet middle blocker Julia Valenzuela #11 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 watches the shot she blocked fall over the net against Poly during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet outside hitter Miley Ramos #12 hits past the block of Poly middle blocker Nadia Lewis #16 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly middle blocker Nadia Lewis #16 tries to hit past the block of Hemet middle blocker Julia Valenzuela #11 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet opposite Kaycee Blanton #16 pushes the ball over the net at Poly outside hitter Michelle Milligan #9 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Kayden Croy #5 and Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 try to pass the ball against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 hits past the block of Poly middle blocker Aurora Elder #20 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 hits past the block of Hemet outside hitter Josephine Springer #1 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Kayden Croy #5 hit past the block of Hemet middle blocker Julia Valenzuela #11 and Hemet right side hitter Geneva Dagnall #4 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 celebrates blocking a Poly shot during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly middle blocker Aurora Elder #20 tries to block the shot of Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet’s bench celebrates a point against Poly during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

p9 and Poly middle blocker Kate Sullivan #19 celebrate a kill against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly fans cheer a point against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Kayden Croy #5 hits through the block of Hemet middle blocker Julia Valenzuela #11 and Hemet right side hitter Geneva Dagnall #4 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet defensive specialist Hailey Franks #8 celebrates a point against Poly during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 sets the ball against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly middle blocker Aurora Elder #20 tries to block the shot of Hemet middle blocker Markel Gordon #5 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

From left Poly JV volleyball players Shaylin Najar, watches the varsity game as Soraya Martinez has Saydee Salcedo remove ankle tape after their Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Kayden Croy #5 passes the ball against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet outside hitter Josephine Springer #1 hits over the block of Poly middle blocker Nadia Lewis #16 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet setter Jade Tolliver #2 and Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 block the shot of Poly outside hitter Michelle Milligan #9 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet setter Jade Tolliver #2 makes the running save against Poly during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly libero Sarah Allen #1 passes the ball against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Kayden Croy #5 looks for a big hit against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly outside hitter Michelle Milligan #9 hits past the block of Hemet right side hitter Geneva Dagnall #4 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly middle blocker Aurora Elder #20 reacts as she backs out of the way of another play against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 hits past Hemet middle blocker Julia Valenzuela #11 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet outside hitter Josephine Springer #1 hits over Poly middle blocker Nadia Lewis #16 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet outside hitter Josephine Springer # hits past Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet middle blocker Haeden Baker #7 reacts after blocking a Poly shot during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Hemet head coach Dan Sisson talks with his team in a timeout against Poly during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly head coach Dana Fulwider talks with her team before playing Hemet in an Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Poly setter Holly Pulley #10 celebrates winning game three against Hemet during the Ivy League girls volleyball match in Riverside on Thursday, September 22, 2022. (Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

Show Caption of

Expand

“I think that was really integral to our success tonight,” Poly coach Dana Fulwider said about her team’s performance at the service line Thursday. “(Hemet) has some big hitters and their setter is really good… Our goal was to have mental focus, serve tough and take them out of their offense.”

The teams traded the first eight points of the match, but Poly went on a 14-7 run to take command of the opening frame. Holly Pulley, Sarah Allen and Kate Sullivan each had an ace during that run. Allen’s second ace put the Bears on set point, and Kayden Croy closed things out with her fifth kill.

Hemet (12-5, 1-3 in league) made a strong run near the end of the set to cut the deficit to 22-21. The Bulldogs had more kills than Poly (13-11) in the first game but also had twice as many attacking errors (8-4).

Hemet cleaned things up and never trailed in the second game. Audrey Franks led the comeback for the Bulldogs with four kills in that set, while Josephine Springer and Geneva Dagnali each added three kills. Poly (10-4, 4-0) fought off two set points before Dagnali tied the match with a kill.

The third set was the closest of the match, as neither team led by more than three points. Franks had four kills in a span of five points to help Hemet reach set point at 24-22. Sullivan smacked down a kill, and Milligan had a block to help Poly level the score. After a timeout, Bianca Clark served up an ace to give the Bears set point. Milligan capped the Poly’s closing run with a kill.

“That took a lot of grit when we were behind,” said Croy, who finished with a match-high 19 kills while also recording four aces. “We just stayed calm and confident and were able to come though.”

Clark had a pair of aces to help Poly grab a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. Hemet cut the deficit to one point a few times, but the Bulldogs continued to struggle with serve receive. Poly registered nine aces in the fourth set, with Croy and Pulley each serving three apiece to help the Bears close out the victory.

“It can be very stressful,” Pulley said about serving. “Everybody is looking at you, and that is something that always freaks me out… It feels real good when you get all those aces in a row.”

Hemet coach Dan Sisson was proud of his squad for pushing the league leaders throughout the match.

“That team (Poly) has tough servers and we tried to hang in there,” Sisson said. “I think we did pretty good tonight. We had chances to get those games, so we were right there the whole time.”

Springer led the offensive effort Hemet with 13 kills, and Franks added 11 kills for the Bulldogs. Jade Tolliver finished the match with five aces.

Allen, Pulley and Milligan each had five aces for Poly, and Milligan also recorded nine kills for the Bears. Aurora Elder had as strong defensive effort at the net with three solo blocks and two block assists.