Given all that, it would be pretty easy to understand if the Spanish Springs spikers were a bit emotionally spent by the time they hit the court Tuesday against McQueen. Cougars coach Frank Sandomenico admitted his team was drained emotionally, but the effects were limited on the court.
Spanish Springs rolled to a 25-14, 25-19, 25-20 sweep over visiting McQueen. The win wrapped up a stellar regular season for the local school, which concluded league play with a 15-1 record and sits 33-6 overall.
"Everything was against us tonight," Sandomenico said. "And McQueen is a much-improved team from when we played them the first time around. We knew it would be a rough night.
In Game 1, Spanish Springs held a slim 11-10 edge. The Cougars then proceeded to rip off a 13-3 outburst and cruised to the 11-point win in the opening set.
McQueen bounced back in Game 2. The Lancers jumped out to a 10-5 lead. The Cougars stopped the bleeding, but still trailed 12-8. That's as good as it got for the guests.
Spanish Springs strung together five straight points to take a 13-12 lead. The Cougars weren't done. That 5-0 run kick started a 13-3 spurt that was capped by five straight SSHS points, all served up by Sadye Roulund
Spanish Springs led 21-14 after the key run and the two teams traded points to the final 25-19 score.
"We're good at that. When we feel threatened, we rally," Sandomenico said.
Game 3 was the tightest of the three. The final five-point margin was the widest of the game. The Cougars led 11-7, but McQueen rallied to knot the score at 15s.
McQueen was still within striking distance, down 20-18 after a kill. However, Spanish Springs grabbed the momentum by scoring the next three points. A kill by Melly Munley accounted for the final 25-20 score.
Munley was solid for Spanish Springs all night. She finished with a match-high 15 kills and she also lifted seven digs. Rachel Loadholt contributed 13 kills and 12 digs for the Cougars. Lyndsey Anderson dished out 27 assists and added six kills.
"Melly not only put away a lot of balls, but she did it at key times," Sandomenico said. "The seniors deserved this. It was nice that they were all on the floor together at the end."
Spanish Springs is the HDL's top playoff seed and will open the Division 1 North's tournament bracket Oct. 31 at home against the Sierra League's yet to be determined No. 4 seed.
Reed def. No. Valleys
The Raiders had Senior Night as well Tuesday and they got the same result, a sweep at home in a conference clash. Reed's victory came over North Valleys, 25-15, 25-9, 25-19.
The RHS spikers celebrated five seniors, who were playing their final regular season home game and Raiders coach Kristen Flagtvedt liked what she saw from her emotional team.
"I thought the girls did a really good job," she said. "Senior Night is always emotional for the seniors and the other girls who have played with them for a while. The girls showed up and played hard. They played through the emotion. It was a nice end to the regular season before regionals start.
"Right before the game started, I think all of them were in tears. We had just talked about their accomplishments. That takes an emotional toll and than like two seconds later they were ready to play. It was amazing to watch. I was proud of all of the girls."
Reed's seniors highlighted the stat sheet. Katelyn Singer pounded 11 kills and put down two blocks. Amber Harris finished with seven kills and 11 digs. Taylor Baer chipped in four kills, six digs and a pair of aces. Setter Taylor Stefan gave away 24 assists and Taylor Whitehead added nine digs and an ace.
"We came right out and executed. They showed up ready to go," Flagtvedt said. "We really focused on taking care of the ball on our side and I think the girls did that."
Reed earned the HDL's No. 2 postseason seed and will host a regional playoff Oct. 31. The Raiders will face the Sierra League's No. 3 seed, which is yet to be determined.