MHS Volleyball takes down West Side
The MHS Volleyball team looks forward to every game they step on the court but their matchup against the West Side Pirates has been on their minds since last season. In a big win over 5 sets, the Lady Dragons defeated West Side who would later go on to become the 2A State Champions. With that game in mind, players, coaches and fans knew this was going to be an exciting game to watch.
From the first serve, the Lady Dragons didn’t disappoint. They brought their competitive hitting game, their scrappy fight for it persistence, and their cool under pressure attitude. They took an early lead in the first match as Adley Kimberling started with the serve. The team kept the ball in play with good passing and even better hitting. West Side got their first score as the Lady Dragons were up by 6, but the Pirates couldn’t keep up with Malad’s game. MHS took the first set, 25-14.
Hallie Horlsey earned the first point of the second set as she pounded the ball passed the Pirates block after a long rally between the two teams. West Side came better prepared for the Lady Dragons in the second set, taking the lead 9-2. But the the MHS volleyball wasn’t ready to give up and fought to come back, picking away at the Pirates lead. It was a team effort to battle back with Riglee Petersen's heated serves, Horsley’s aggressive hitting, and Abby Rosenquist’s blocking across the net kept them in play. With only 4 points left for West Side to win the set, the Lady Dragons rallied back in a big way. The team took the win as Petersen dug the Pirate’s hit, passing it to Kimberling who set Horsley up for the kill West Side couldn’t bring back over to end the set, 25-22. Coach Cami Tripp commented how great it was to see the girls play with confidence, even when they were down. “They never believed they couldn’t win,” she added, “and that is what won them that set.”
If the Pirates weren’t already fired up before, they came out hot for the third set of the game. They fought to keep up with Malad’s intensity, making it an exciting game to watch. This time, the two teams battled back and forth for the lead, always staying within just a few points of each other. Keeping the ball in play was no easy feat but the MHS volleyball team covered the court well from the deep corners to those short tips just over the net. As much West Side tried to keep libero, Brylee Oglesbee, from getting the ball, she wasn’t to be stopped in her passing. The sophomore led the team with 16 digs for the night and great serve receive passing from the back court. Despite their great teamwork and effort, the Pirates pulled ahead at the end of the set to win, 25- 22.
The fourth set proved to be a battle at the net with both sides putting up strong blocks and hard hits. Kimberling, the junior captain, kept a cool head throughout the set to strategically lead her team from the court. The setter placed the ball well to set up her hitters from the kill as well as dupping it into the open court on the unsuspecting Pirates. Middle blocker, Camia Bean, led the team with 11, protecting the net well from West Side’s attempts.
It wasn’t an easy set for the Lady Dragons, by any means. They once again found themselves trailing, but their desire to win was strong. As the scores inched up, it was evident that they were going to fight to the end. The Pirate’s managed a few good blocks that could have rattle the team, but instead they rallied back with greater intensity. Riley Hammer stepped up to serve the final 4 points of the game for Malad, with serves too difficult for West Side to make a play on. Each time the team was forced to push the ball over, giving Malad the opportunity to swing for the kill. The gym was full of excitement and cheers as the ball came down for that final point in Malad’s favor as Horsley went up with a big swing to end the game, 25-18.
Coach Tripp had nothing but praise for her team at the end of the night. Admittedly, there were mistakes, but the coach was proud of the progress the team was making. If there was one word the coach would use to describe that game it would be “desire”. She commented, “They just wanted so badly that they never came up. Beyond that, they played with grit and determination and that is why they won tonight.”