Reed jumped out to an early 5-1 lead after McKinley Chesley provided a block. The Raiders’ blocking was on point in the early going in Game 1.
However, that didn’t last. When Spanish Springs found some holes, spikes began hitting the floor as the Cougars battled back, knotting the game at 9-9.
“We tried to mix it up a little more. They really do have some great height,” SSHS coach Frank Sandomenico said. “We decided to mix it up and change our shots, try to set everybody. There are going to be a lot of teams with a height advantage over us. We’re going to have to find ways to work through that.”
The hosts couldn’t take the lead, but the student sections led to some extra motivation. While the Reed fans chanted a premature “Scoreboard!” chant with the Raiders only leading 13-11, Cougar fans returned the favor after watching their team score the next three points to regain the lead, 14-13.
Spanish Springs never relinquished that edge, eventually building the gap to a game-high six points, 20-14.
The Raiders managed to cut the deficit in half to 22-19, but the Purple and White rallied for the final three points, capped by Hannah Meadows’ ace. Meadows had four of her team’s nine aces.
In Game 2, it was neck and neck with Spanish Springs staking claim to a slim 5-4 edge only to watch the Raiders string together six straight points for a 9-5 advantage, forcing a Cougars timeout.
Reed was able to push the lead to 10-5 coming out of the timeout, but Spanish Springs didn’t let its cross-town rival pull away.
The Cougs tallied seven of the next eight points, snatching a 12-11 lead off a Rachel Loadholt ace.
Spanish Springs wasn’t done. After the Raiders tied the game at 12-12, the Cougars went on a 6-0 run for an 18-12 cushion.
The home squad increased its lead to a game-high seven-point margin, 24-17, but had to settle for its second straight 25-19 win.
For the third consecutive game, Reed scored the first point. This time, the Raiders put up a 4-0 lead on the scoreboard. Sandomenico called a timeout as soon as Moriah Maluotoga’s serve hit the sideline for an ace and the 4-0 lead.
Reed enjoyed a foursome of five-point leads at 5-0, 8-3, 11-6 and 13-8. But the SSHS spikers earned their first tie with a 5-0 run, leaving the teams in a 13-13 deadlock.
Then, Spanish Springs took its first lead of the game at 14-13 and the battle was on.
Reed made the Cougars earn the Game 3 triumph. The Raiders owned a pair of three-point advantages late in the game, the last being at 19-16. However, Spanish Springs put a mini 4-0 spurt together for a 20-19 lead.
The teams traded a series of sideouts, which left the visitors in front 22-21. Reed pushed ahead by two points when Micayla Huff served up an ace.
Back-to-back points by the Cougars tied the score at 23-23, but the Raiders reached game point when Chesley dropped in a cut shot down the line.
Spanish Springs called a timeout, out of desperation, and sophomore Gabby Szachara lowered the boom with authority on the game-tying kill.
The Cougars had their own game point thanks to Reed touching the net, but Meghan Rader’s kill left the scoreboard reading 25-25.
Spanish Springs was handed a 26-25 edge on a miss-hit during a Raiders set, and then Melly Munley made a diving dig that surprised Reed when the ball went back over the net and landed in the middle of the court for match point.
“I thought we served really well. We didn’t play great, but we did enough to win,” Sandomenico said. “I think Reed is a really good team, and they’re going to win a lot of games. That was a good test for us.”
Munley paced the Cougars with 13 kills, while Lyndsey Anderson handed out 18 assists.
Chesley and Maluotoga led the Raiders with six and five kills respectively. Huff and Taylor Stefan each finished with 10 assists in the losing cause.
Spanish Springs (14-4, 2-0 in Northern 4A) is at McQueen Thursday, while Reed (9-5, 2-1 in Northern 4A) travels to Reno. Both matches start at 6 p.m.
“I think they played cleaner. They did a better job in their serve receive than we did and it helped them set up their offense,” Reed coach Kristen Flagtvedt said of the three-game loss.