From Game 1, it was apparent the Cougars wanted to taste their first sip of HDL glory without a co-champion as the hosts jumped out quick and never looked back, securing a 25-17, 25-15, 25-17 victory.
“It’s a big win. We had a couple defensive lapses, but other than that, I thought we played as well as we could,” SSHS volleyball coach Frank Sandomenico said. “It’s awesome. Last year we tied Reno for the league championship and we lost the tiebreaker. It’s just nice to get one that’s just ours. We’re the number one seed, which is very important. These girls deserve it.”
Spanish Springs doubled up on Reed 10-5 in the first set, forcing a timeout from the visitors. The Raiders were able to stymie the momentum of the Purple and Silver, scoring five of the next six points to close the gap to one, 11-10. However, they never knotted the game and the next time they needed a timeout, it wouldn’t help.
Spanish Springs answered Reed’s run with a string of five unanswered points, capped by a double hit call on the Raiders, leaving the score 16-10.
After the RHS spikers called their second timeout and earned a sideout, the Cougars kept on rolling, pushing the lead to a game-high 20-11 score. Reed never got closer than five the rest of the way, 21-16 and 22-17.
A tip by Lyndsey Anderson gave the home team the eight-point win in the first game.
Briefly in Game 2, Reed enjoyed an advantage with the scoreboard reading 3-1 in its favor. That didn’t last long.
The Cougs tallied five points in a row and the Raiders called timeout.
Reed got back into the game, cutting the deficit down to one, 7-6. But like the first set, the visiting squad could not get over the hump.
Spanish Springs scored 10 of the next 13 points, and an Anderson ace bumped the cushion up to double digits for the first time in the match, 21-11.
“I think it’s just a big rivalry. We always have the biggest crowds of any games we ever play. I think that plays a big part of it,” Reed volleyball coach Kristen Flagtvedt said of her team’s struggles against the Cougars. “I thought we continued to fight. We didn’t give up. We tried to play each point for what it was worth. I just think they came out stronger, and sometimes the other team plays better than you.”
Consecutive kills by Katelyn Singer, Emilie Braun and Moriah Maluotoga gave Reed some footing, but it only scored one point the rest of the way after making it a 21-14 game.
The Cougars increased their edge back up to double digits as Rachel Loadholt slammed a kill off the block and hit the antenna for the game-ending point.
While Reed has come back from down two games against some pretty good competition by winning in five at Reno, it was not meant to be Monday night.
The Cougars built a nice lead right off the bat, 5-1. After grabbing a 9-4 edge and watching the Raiders call their final timeout of the set, Spanish Springs traded sideouts with the guests.
But there was a little less energy coming out of the SSHS ranks than in the previous two games, and Reed took advantage.
The Raiders trailed 12-7, but inched closer, cutting the deficit to 13-11.
“Reed’s good. We beat them by eight and 10 in the first two games. It’s tough to keep winning against them,” Sandomenico said. “To win three straight against them is difficult. They never stop playing hard and they’re well coached. We told them that they used their second timeout early, so they’re either going to come out playing hard or they’re going to fold. They came out playing hard.”
Anderson seemed to take it upon herself to regain momentum for her team, faking a set and tipping the ball over the net for a 14-11 score.
Reed wouldn’t go away. Maluotoga smashed a kill on the back corner, knotting the third set 15-15, leading to a Spanish Springs timeout.
The Cougars never relinquished the lead and erupted for 10 of the final 12 points of the game, closing out the match with three straight blocks and Loadholt’s match-high 17th kill.
Melly Munley added nine kills, while Gabby Szachara and Anderson added seven apiece. Anderson also had 26 assists and three aces. Brandi Brucato chipped in a team-high five aces and 11 digs as Spanish Springs improved to 32-6 overall and 14-1 in league.
Reed (24-7, 12-3) didn’t have much to show for its efforts in the stat column. Taylor Stefan handed out 21 assists, while Maluotoga had seven kills and 16 digs to lead the Blue and Gold. Singer knocked down six kills.
Spanish Springs and Reed both close out the league season tonight with Senior Night festivities. The Cougars host McQueen, while Reed welcomes North Valleys.