"It was great because Game 1 we just didn’t play very well. We just said if we played better we would have a chance to win and it was really that simple,” Sandomenico said. “The girls did a great job of not letting one part of their game affect them. If they were struggling in one area, they didn’t let it carryover to the other. They all found something they could do to help the team.”
Heading into Game 3, after both sides managed to grab a win in the first two sets, the squads battled en route to a 6-4 Reno edge. From that point, the game would shift in the Cougs’ favor.
Starting off with an ace from Sadye Roulund, Spanish Springs went on a 13-2 outburst that left the Cougars ahead 17-8. Not wanting to relinquish its momentum, SSHS rode the run to an eventual 25-15 victory in the third set, putting the Cougars a game away from the match victory.
With the match on the line and its back against the wall, Reno came out fighting in Game 4, trading points back-and-forth with the Purple and Silver. After the set progressed to a 4-4 tie, Reno scored six unanswered to seize a 10-4 advantage. Four straight points from the Cougars cut the deficit to 10-8 before the Huskies reestablished their lead at 15-9, with a 5-1 spurt.
Not to be outdone, Spanish Springs rallied off seven of the next eight points to knot the contest up at 16-16. The tie was pushed to a score of 21-21 before Spanish Springs grabbed a 23-21 lead on kills from Rachel Loadholt and Lyndsey Anderson. Two Cougars’ unforced errors handed Reno two points to tie the game yet again. Still, the SSHS spikers were undeterred as they took the final two points of Game 4 on a Huskies’ serve just outside the line, followed by a tip shot from Anderson to wrap up the 3-1 win.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Reno coach Adrian Paschal said. “We depend on our block and our block didn’t come through tonight, but we also haven’t seen hitters like Spanish Springs. They’re a lot faster than what we’ve seen this year. I think they caught us by surprise a little bit and once they got their momentum going, it was really hard to stop. Volleyball is a game of momentum and it shows when you get on a little bit of run. They did that and got us on our heels a little bit and we started making mental errors. They kind of jumped on that a little bit.”
Following the first game, in which Reno squeaked out a 25-23 win, the Cougars stepped onto the court determined to grab the equalizer. A quick 7-2 jump got things going in Game 2 for Spanish Springs. Reno tried to crawl back into the game with the scoreboard reading 11-9 for SSHS, but the Cougars were having none of that.
A 6-1 run pushed the score to 17-10 for Spanish Springs before the Huskies called a timeout. The short break did little to slow down the Cougars’ attack, which reeled off another run, this one an 8-1 surge that gave Game 2 to the visitors, 25-11.
The momentum from the second game carried over into the Game 3 for Spanish Springs and helped the Cougars on their way to the win over Reno.
“Reno is a good team and they’re going to win a lot of games,” Sandomenico said. “Some of what happened tonight was us playing consistent and well and some of that was Reno making some mistakes. I didn’t think we played well in Game 1 and I didn’t think they played well in Game 2. Any time that happens, it’s just the best out of three at that point. This just puts us in a great spot. We feel like we’ve played some pretty good teams but we feel like this is a team that is at the next level.”
Anderson handed out 34 assists on the night for the Cougars to go along with seven kills and six digs. Hannah Meadows was also in the giving mood, dealing out 14 assists to go with nine digs. Loadholt and Melly Munley had 18 and 17 kills, respectively, while the Cougars also got 12 from Gabby Szachara. Brandi Brucato added to the contributions with 16 digs, while 13 digs went to Loadholt and five blocks were recorded by Szachara.
Spanish Springs (17-3, 4-0) will have another tough test in front of it come Tuesday when it visits Bishop Manogue for a 6 p.m. contest.
While the Cougars were taking care of business at Reno, the Reed High School volleyball team was doing the same at Hug. The Raiders swept their way to a match victory 25-8, 25-18 and 25-14
“It was really good to see the girls bounce back,” Reed coach Kristen Flagtvedt said. “We've got some players that haven’t seen as much playing time this season. Tonight, they got a lot more playing time and it was good to see them step up and do the job that they needed to do.
“I thought we did a good job with our communication and I thought we served aggressively. We did a better job of making smarter choices. We just need to continue to work on our technique and make sure that we’re working well as a team and continue to be aggressive against any team that we’re facing.”
Reed (13-7, 3-1) next plays at Wooster on Tuesday at 6 p.m.