The win gave Spanish Springs (24-4, 11-1) a two-game lead, with four left to play, over Reno in the league standings. Thursday's triumph also gave the SSHS spikers a sweep of the series between the two schools, a key edge should the two teams wind up tied at the regular season's conclusion.
"This was fun," said Spanish Springs senior Melly Munley, who pounded a match-high 22 kills and got up 16 digs. "When you play the better teams and you push through, still finding a way to get a win, that's the best."
Spanish Springs got off to a fast start. The Cougars scored four of the first five points in the first game and never trailed. A tip kill by Reno's Jessy Hix did pull the Huskies within two, 6-4, but they were never that close again in Game 1.
Spanish Springs ripped off a 14-5 spurt to go up by a game-high 11 points, 20-9. Reno (15-6, 9-3) got within nine, 23-14 but a kill by Myrissa Prince and an ace by Hannah Meadows sealed the first game win for the hosts.
"Reno has good players, incredible height and they are well coached," Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said. "We knew there was too much talent on their side of the net for them not to bounce back after that first game. We just feel like because we mix it up so much, we put a lot of pressure on their middles. We did a good job tonight of mixing it up and getting a lot of people involved."
Game 2 was a reversal of fortunes. Spanish Springs led 3-2 but it was the Cougars' only lead of the second game. Reno scored the next five points to forge ahead 7-3. Spanish Springs did not get closer than three the rest of the way in the second set.
Spanish Springs sent a hit into the net and the Reno had a game-high lead of nine points, 20-11. Soon after, Reno got a kill from Annie Challis to wrap up the second game with Reno winning by the aforementioned 10-point margin,
The third game was tight throughout. Neither team led by more than three points until the Cougars got the game winner. A Challis kill knotted Game 3 at 21-21, but Spanish Springs grabbed the momentum in the game and match by reeling off four straight points for the win.
Those last four points came on a kill by Rachel Loadholt, an ace by Lyndsey Anderson, a tip kill by Munley and another Anderson ace. Anderson finished with three of the Cougars' eight aces and she also gave away 44 assists.
Early in Game 4, it looked like Reno might roll over and go home. Spanish Springs built a 13-7 lead only to see Reno rally. A 7-2 burst by the visitors saw them get within one, 15-14. However, they never could get into a tie or were able take the lead.
Spanish Springs led 22-19 and then scored the final three points of the deciding game, clinching the match win. Loadholt had a kill. A Reno player was called in the net and Meadows served up an ace for those final three points in the Cougars' match-ending push.
"We lost focus," Reno coach Adrian Paschall said. "I think both teams were tired physically, but they definitely had the mental edge. We made rotation errors. We hit serves into the net and we went into the net. That's mental and they didn't make those kind of mistakes."
In addition to the stellar outings from Munley and Anderson, Loadholt was also superb. She got under 16 digs and put down 11 kills. SSHS libero Brandi Brucato lifted a match-high 20 digs to help the Cougars' winning cause.
Sandomenico said its the first time in program history that three different Cougars have tallied 15 or more digs in the same match.
Spanish Springs plays again Tuesday at Carson at 6 p.m.
Reed def. Hug
*The Raiders rolled Thursday to a sweep at home over league rival Hug, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20.
The Raiders stayed in the hunt for a High Desert League crown with the win, remaining just a game back of cross-town rival Spanish Springs. The RHS crew now sits 22-7 on the season overall and 1-2 in conference clashes.
Sophomore Annie Braun had a solid all-around effort for Reed. she gave away 13 assists, served up six aces and got up four digs. Kelsey Donahue paced the Reed offense with 12 digs while Rachel Marshall pounded six kills of her own.
"I was actually able to sit (starting setter) Talyor Stefan quite a bit and had Annie (Braun) set. She did a good job," Reed coach Kristen Flagtvedt said. "I got other players a lot of time. We got our middles involved. Emily Marshall really stepped up. It's nice to see other kids, who don't get lot of chances to play, do good things on the court."
Reed has four matches left in its regular season, including a second league affair against Spanish Springs. So what does the local club hsve to do to improve down the home stretch of its fall campaign?
"We just want to fine-tune some things. I think through the second half of the season we really have played some tough matches," Flagtvedt said. "We have come out on top in most so just knowing that this team has the drive and fight is good to know, but we want to make sure that we peak and do so at the right time. We've got to push ourselves every single game. We want to be able to play consistent volleyball going into this last stretch."
Reed is in action again Tuesday when it plays Damonte Ranch.