The pair of tournaments, in which the Cougars placed second and third, had Spanish Springs more than groomed for the season opener. Hosting Douglas in a crossover match, the Cougs swept the contest convincingly: 25-13, 25-14, 25-13.
“I think the biggest thing that showed is that over the last two weekends we’ve played 16 matches,” Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said. “We’ve played a lot of volleyball and went deep into tournaments. We’ve played a ton of volleyball. We played in a tournament in the summer where we played 17 matches in a week, so with this group right here we have 33 matches under our belt. So we feel like we should be ahead of other teams. I feel like we are. We need to stay that way. We just need to play like that and not have a lull. That’s the biggest thing and we just realized that the other day.”
With essentially a full season of work and experience behind them, the Cougars went to work against the visitors.
In Game 1, Douglas took an early 7-5 advantage. The two-point edge was the highlight of the night for the Tigers as it would prove to be the largest gap in which Douglas could distance itself from Spanish Springs.
Taking advantage of mistakes on the part of the Tigers, and sending kill after kill into the court, the Cougars strung together a 13-2 rally to take the lead while doubling up Douglas with a score of 18-9. The nine-point margin remained with the score 21-12 before Spanish Springs tallied four of the final five points of the game to take the first set 25-13.
Game 2 saw the two sides battle back-and-forth with the scoreboard reading 9-7 in favor of the home team. Not satisfied with the small advantage, the Cougars put together an 8-2 run that was sparked by a combo block from senior Lyndsey Anderson and junior Gabby Szachara. That saw the SSHS squad jump out to a 17-9 lead.
Douglas would tally the next three, but the trio of points did little to slow the Purple and Silver as Anderson set up a number of her teammates en route to another 8-2 run that closed out the second game, 25-14 for Spanish Springs.
Not even wanting the Tigers to attempt a comeback, the Cougars pounced on their opposition from the opening serve of Game 3 to the tune of an 11-2 advantage.The significant margin would stay the same all the way to the score of 17-6.Three straight points from a Briana Parish kill, Rachel Loadholt ace and a lift on the Tigers’ part, put Spanish Springs ahead 20-6. Douglas tried to rally, cutting the deficit to 10 with the score 22-12, but the Cougars coasted the remainder of the way to a 25-13 third game victory and the match sweep.
“The biggest thing tonight was that we just ran our offense and got everybody involved,” Sandomenico said. “We mixed it up because we’re just trying not to stay with one thing. I thought that was the best thing.”
Anderson led the way for the Cougars, finishing the night with 19 assists, six digs and four kills. Senior Melly Munley also helped in the win for Spanish Springs, recording 12 kills and four digs, while Loadholt chipped in with seven kills and three aces. Hannah Meadows added 11 assists on the evening.
Despite the decisive win, Sandomenico said there is still room for improvement as Spanish Springs (14-3, 1-0 Northern Division I) gets ready for its next match, on Thursday at Wooster at 6 p.m.
“They haven’t committed 100 percent to the defense. We’re still in that 85-90 percent range. We’re still not a 100 percent there. Hopefully we get there," he said.