Based on previous experience, the Bakersfield Christian volleyball team knew to expect a battle from Tehachapi.
Facing the Warriors for the third time this season, the Eagles came ready for a tough match as the two squads met in the Central Section Division II quarterfinals on Oct. 30.
The match went much like the first two encounters with BCHS once again defeating Tehachapi, 3-1 (25-9, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14).
"That's a really good team," BCHS coach Matt Touchstone said. "They're very dangerous, as they showed taking a game off us and each game being difficult. The girls did a great job of staying focused and being ready."
The No. 3 Eagles went on to face No. 2 Visalia-El Diamante on the road in the semifinals on Nov. 1.
Alexandra Johnson had 15 kills to help BCHS improve to 31-7 in Central Section playoff matches since 2004.
Ashley Herman added 13 kills and Catherine Balfanz chipped in 12 kills and 16 assists for the Eagles, who lost in the D-II finals last year, after winning section championships the previous four seasons.
"I thought we all worked really good together," Herman said. "We really pushed because we beat them before, but we know not to underestimate them."
After three early lead changes, BCHS went on a 21-4 run, to win the first set.
The Eagles scored 13 straight points to close out the game.
No. 11 Tehachapi fought back behind a solid defensive effort and excellent hitting by Mady Cotta and Meagan Williams, who finished the match with 10 kills each, to take the second set.
The visiting Warriors carried the momentum from that win into Game 3, but faltered down the stretch, making several unforced errors.
BCHS (22-7) capitalized on the Tehachapi (22-8) mistakes with some clutch plays that helped the Eagles pull out a narrow victory.
"Unforced errors, you can't make those against a good team," Tehachapi coach Renn Amstead said.
BCHS dominated the fourth and final game from start to finish.
"We picked up our energy a lot more (after losing the second set)," Herman said. "We started communicating more so we were stronger after that."
Amstead was proud of the way his team fought back to win the second set and hang tough in Game 3.
"They have very good athletes," Amstread said. "They don't let any balls drop. They're a very good digging team. We're just a little bit short on the digging. We gave it the best we have. ... We'll be back. We're a young team."
No. 3 BCHS d. No. 11 Tehachapi 25-9, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14
THS (22-8): Kills: Cotta 10, Williams 10, Sandholdt 6; Blocks: Williams 2; Assists: Parker 32; Digs: Cotta 9, Stowers 9, Sandholdt 6; Aces: Sandholdt 2.
BCHS (22-7): Kills: Johnson 15, Herman 13, Balfanz 12, Stump 10; Blocks: Stump 3; Assists: Balfanz 16, Reynish 12; Digs: Kennelley 20; Aces: Reynish 2, Bouma 2.