Bishop Manogue went from Sierra League champion to regional champ in fine fashion, saddling Spanish Springs with only its seventh defeat of the season by a 23-25, 25-11, 25-10, 25-19 score.
“They played better, and we didn’t play so well. Games two and three were pretty brutal,” SSHS volleyball coach Frank Sandomenico said. “You’ve got to give them some credit for playing well. They served better than we did.”
The game was tight throughout the first set. Spanish Springs enjoyed its largest lead, 10-7, following a Hannah Meadows ace.
Manogue then rattled off five straight points to grab a 12-10 lead and appeared to be in control.
The Miners led by as much as five, 18-13, in the second set. But that’s when the Cougars began clawing their way back into contention.
Four consecutive points by the Purple and Silver closed the gap to 18-17. Spanish Springs trailed by one at 19-18. Neither time could it knot the score.
The Cougars didn’t finish the comeback until another ace by Meadows brought the teams into a 20-20 deadlock. Spanish Springs wasn’t done though. A Briana Parrish block handed the hosts their first lead since it was 10-9.
Manogue earned a game-tying sideout and then Shannon Sullivan laced a kill down the line for a 23-22 Miners lead. The call of the game came on the next point. Morgan Carlson missed peppering the backline with a spike that would have brought Manogue to within a point of the set. Instead, the miss tied the game at 23-23 and breathed new life into the Cougars.
Again, Parrish went up for a block, sending Spanish Springs into a 24-23 lead. A miss-hit by Manogue gave Game 1 to its opponent.
That didn’t sway the Miners as they stormed out to a 5-0 lead in Game 2.
The domination was short-lived. Spanish Springs cut the deficit to 6-4, but that comeback was also short-lived.
As part of a 5-0 rally, Katie McDonald served up back-to-back-to-back aces, extending the Miners’ advantage to 16-8, before a service error ended the run.
After the Spanish Springs sideout, Manogue picked right up where it left off, increasing its lead to double digits, 19-9, with three more unanswered points.
Manogue tallied 14 of the final 17 points to earn the 14-point win in Game 2 and tie the match at one game apiece.
The third set was much of the same, but it took less time for the Miners to build a cushion up to double digits, scoring 15 of the first 20 points in Game 3. They also led by 10 at 16-6 and 19-9.
Back-to-back kills by Carlson made it a 22-9 game, and the lead reached 15 points twice at 24-9 and 25-10, the largest gap of the match.
Spanish Springs scored the first point of the fourth set and prevented Manogue from getting off to a fast start.
The Cougars tied the game at 4-4 and 7-7, but long serves out of bounds thwarted their opportunities to regain the lead, something they couldn’t accomplish despite two more ties in the game.
“They just played good defense, and it was hard to get in a rhythm. That was the biggest thing,” Sandomenico said.
Seniors Melly Munley and Rachel Loadholt paced the Cougars’ offense with 12 and nine kills respectively. Lyndsey Anderson had 19 assists.
Spanish Springs (35-7) will open the state tournament with a semifinal matchup against Sunset Region champion Bishop Gorman at 6:20 p.m. Friday. Galena is hosting the state tourney.