The Cougars took five days off, looked rusty in a win over Carson Tuesday and played emotional Wednesday as 12 seniors played their final regular season home game.
“When we looked at the schedule this week, it was all just about surviving the week,” Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said. “With a five-day break, back-to-back nights and then Senior Night with 12 seniors, it’s not easy.”
The 25-21, 25-16, 25-11 win Wednesday moved the Cougars to 21-6, 12-2 in league matches, and secured a home playoff berth for the third straight year. Sandomenico said his team is going to “try to get a lot better” before the postseason starts but realized the emotion of the night played a significant role in his team’s “lethargic” performance.
“They were a train wreck before the game, no doubt,” Sandomenico said. “(There were) a lot of tears. They have been playing together since seventh grade. I’ve been coaching them since seventh grade. It’s hard to go from that to, ‘OK we have to play now.’”
The most emotional moment of the night came early in the first set when Myrissa Prince walked, with a limp, behind the back line to serve. Prince is a three-year varsity letter winner who missed the season after tearing her ACL in a summer workout.
As she entered the game, the Cougar bench, and entire Cougar fan base, gave Prince a standing ovation.
“We tried to keep it a secret but it didn’t work out,” Sandomenico said.
Sandomenico thought to give Prince her senior moment a month ago.
“It’s just amazing when you think she was a three-year letter winner in volleyball, basketball and softball and was going to be a four-year winner. To see that get taken away is heartbreaking. It was good for her, and for the fans, and for her teammates to see that. She’s a special kid. It was fun.”
Gabby Szachara led the Cougars with 11 kills and Hannah Meadows threw in 18 assists, six aces, three kills and two digs.
Spanish Springs will look to get back to its crisp form Tuesday at McQueen.
Said Sandomenico: “We fully expect to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season and through the playoffs.”