It didn’t play out that way.
The Cougars looked like the inexperienced squad, while the Raiders played well together and picked up the High Desert League victory on the road: 25-20, 25-17, 25-23.
Spanish Springs scored the first four points of the match, but that was about the only time the home team looked into the rivalry clash.
A string of nine unanswered points by Reed, saw the Blue and Gold climb out of a 6-3 hole and take a 12-6 lead it never relinquished.
“We don’t know how to push through things when things go bad,” SSHS volleyball coach Frank Sandomenico said. “It happens in practice, too. When I put pressure on them in practice, we kind of shut down instead of working through it.”
The Cougars got as close as 20-18 in Game 1, but Reed pulled away for the five-point win.
Game 2 was all about the Raiders rolling out to a big lead early and the Purple and Teal playing catch-up.
After trailing 14-7, Spanish Springs slowly started climbing back in the game with a 6-1 rally.
Like the first game, the Cougars pulled to within two points, 15-13, but could not muster a big enough comeback to regain the lead.
Reed ended Game 2 by scoring 10 of the final 14 points.
Although the Raiders stormed out to a 7-0 lead to start the third game, Game 3 was actually the closest and the Cougars had a chance to avoid the sweep.
Spanish Springs chipped away until it was 9-6 Reed, but a small 4-0 spurt would later extend the Raiders edge to a game-high 17-9 gap.
Stacey Witt recorded a pair of aces for the Cougs in a rally that cut the deficit to 20-17.
Alicia Lee’s fourth ace of the match pushed the gap to 22-17 for the Raiders, but the Cougars didn’t let them pull away like the other two games.
A 5-0 rally tied the game at 23-23, but a service error and a long spike by Spanish Springs ended the match.
“We just didn’t pass the ball. Reed’s a good team, but we made it easy on them,” Sandomenico said. “I take the blame for it because we’re not getting it done in practice, and you play like you practice.
“We can’t blame our lack of experience or our lack of height on tonight’s game. We just couldn’t pass the ball.”
The Cougars’ passing woes were evident in Reed’s stat column. The Raiders did not knock down many winners because they didn’t get that many opportunities. Elizabeth Stacy and Katrina Spencer led Reed with four kills, while Rachael LeSage had a team-high 13 assists.
“I’m really happy about tonight,” Reed coach Kristen Flagtvedt said. “The one thing that hurt us against Elko was we had a lot of missed serves. I thought our serves and defense were the difference tonight and that helped us against a team that hits the ball well.”
Melissa Munley had a strong night at the net for the Cougars, leading her team with 10 kills. No one else had more than three. Witt had 12 assists, while Lyndsey Anderson had seven.
Reed (9-10, 2-1 HDL) is back in action at Hug Thursday. Spanish Springs (8-12, 1-2 HDL) travels to Elko Friday.