Despite the Miners playing without four of their starters due to violations of team rules and another player out due to injury, Manogue took the match victory 3-1 with set scores of 25-18, 14-25, 25-20 and 25-20.
“We came out with the will to win tonight,” Bishop Manogue coach Jason Sterrett said. “With a little adversity, our team stepped up. We’ve talked all year long about 14 deep and we proved that we’re 14 deep tonight. We didn’t come into this match with any excuses. We just said ‘This is our team, lets get after it,’ and we came out and did what we needed to do.”
Right out of the gates, the Miners jumped all over Spanish Springs, grabbing a 10-1 lead in the first set before the Cougars knew what hit them.
SSHS tried to rally in Game 1, slowly chipping away at the deficit en route to a 15-11 score in favor of the Miners. From there, the Cougs narrowed the margin down to two with the scoreboard reading 19-17 for BMHS. However, the hosts quickly ended any thoughts by Spanish Springs of completing the comeback, scoring five straight points before Kelsie Hill closed out the first set with a rocket down the line for a 25-18 win.
In Game 2, the Cougars appeared to gather themselves as they worked their way to a 9-5 edge. After a pair of Miners’ points, Spanish Springs strung together a 7-1 spurt that doubled up Manogue at 16-8. From there, the visitors coasted the remainder of the way to a 25-14 victory, knotting the match at 1-1.
Sadly for Cougars’ supporters, Game 2 would be the lone game win on the night for Spanish Springs.
Games 3 and 4 were not as lopsided as the affairs in the first two sets. Both teams traded sideouts and short-lived runs, but both fell to the Miners as they eventually capitalized on several Cougar mistakes.
Neither team was able to establish momentum in the third set leading to a slight 17-15 Spanish Springs lead before Manogue caught fire like it did in Game 1.
After leaping past Spanish Springs with five of the next six points to grab a 20-18 advantage, the Miners closed out the set with five unanswered points, the final three coming on SSHS errors, for a 25-20 Game 3 win, putting themselves a game away from the match victory.
Game 4 was more of the same as the two sides swapped leads with Manogue grabbing an 18-17 advantage. From there, the Miners let the Cougars do damage to themselves. A 7-3 final run handed Manogue the victory, with five of the Miners’ final seven points coming due to miscommunications and mistakes on the part of Spanish Springs.
“I just thought our girls played scared,” Spanish Springs coach Frank Sandomenico said. “We spotted them a 10-1 lead and it’s hard to recover from that. We came back and won Game 2 and then after that you have a chance, best-of-three. We just didn’t get it done. I thought we just played scared at times and tight. We just need to relax and play.
“It just seemed like when we needed to make a play we didn’t. That’s really what it comes down to. Manogue is well coached and they play hard. They’re clearly the favorite to win that side of the league. We told the girls all you can do is do everything you can to get another shot at them and that’s all you can do at this point.”
Lyndsey Anderson led the losing Cougar effort with 29 assists on the night. Rachel Loadholt and Melly Munley both finished the game with 12 kills while Gabby Szachara added eight of her own. Brandi Brucato chipped in with 12 digs.
For Manogue (18-6, 5-0), Shannon Sullivan led the Miners to victory with 12 kills and nine digs. Close behind was Kololia Atoa, who had 11 kills and 15 digs. Freshman Mikaela DeRicco had a big hand in the BMHS win, passing out 28 assists along with three aces and nine digs.
Spanish Springs (17-4, 4-1) will look to bounce back as it hosts Hug on Thursday at 6:00 p.m.