Reed took a left at the fork and swept aside Douglas on its home gym despite never leading by more than six. Spanish Springs took a right at the fork and fought out a five-game win over Wooster on its home court.
∙The match was so closely contested the Reed student section got into a yelling match with the Douglas JV volleyball team at the end of the first set.
The Raiders trailed 22-21 late in the first set after holding the biggest lead of the night prior at 12-6. Enter Emilie Braun.
Braun hammered home two of the next four points to secure the first set, and eventually Reed’s first HDL win of the season (25-22, 25-23, 26-24). After getting out yelled and beaten, the Douglas JV team left, missing ‘the Braun show.’
Braun finished with a career-high 19 kills including several at the key moments at the end of each set. Her previous best was 15.
“Mo (Moriah Maluotoga) was telling me to crunch more, to snap my wrist more to get a harder serve in practice so I think it really paid off in the game today,” Braun said.
Douglas probably thinks it paid off too. The Tigers did not have a response.
“I was so impressed with her. She was on fire,” Reed coach Kris Flagvedt said. “She really showed up and pushed herself tonight.”
Braun, who also finished with seven digs, also gave credit for her standout performance to Annie Braun, the team’s setter.
“I am really proud of Annie for getting those sets up and our back row for getting those passes to her,” Braun said.
Annie racked up 34 assists as well as two kills, four digs and two aces.
In the second game, Reed led 19-13 before Douglas went on a 10-3 run to grab a 23-22 lead. Flagvedt called a timeout to slow the Tiger’s momentum. And it worked.
The Raiders scored the next three points to notch a 25-23 win and a 2-0 lead.
“I just told them (during the timeout) we needed to play cleaner volleyball,” Flagvedt said. “I think today we had a few mistakes. I think Douglas is a good team but I think we gave them some points that we shouldn’t have and so I think we just needed to clean it up at that point. They just needed to focus.”
The third game proved to be the most dramatic of the three. Trailing 21-24, Reed rattled off five straight points to win the match. Not shockingly, Emilie Braun had two kills in the comeback.
“I thought we really had a good talk yesterday at practice and really tried to focus more on some things and I think that translated in today’s game,” Flagvedt said.
Mo Maluotoga filled up all five categories of the stat sheet for the Raiders finishing with 12 kills, 13 digs, four aces, one block and one assist. Team libero Kelsey Donohoe chimed in with 11 digs.
“It felt really good. I think our team really pulled it together,” Braun said. “I am really proud of our team today.
Reed now sits at 7-3, 1-1 in the HDL. The Raiders play Tuesday at Reno.
∙The Cougars squeezed out a five-game win over Wooster (17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 23-25, 15-8) Thursday night but coach Frank Sandomenico was not exactly pleased with his team’s performance.
“Our practices have been poor and you play like you practice,” Sandomenico said.
The Cougar’s coach believes fatigue has played a major role in his team’s uninspired practices. Spanish Springs has played 16 matches in less than two weeks including trips to Las Vegas and Sacramento.
That schedule would tire an Olympic decathlete let alone a high school volleyball team.
“We have probably played too much ball,” Sandomenico said. “I think the girls are out of gas right now.”
As a result, Sandomenico is asking for his girls to stop and the gas station and fill up by taking the next three days off. The team will practice again Monday before playing at North Valleys Tuesday.
Sandomenico gave special praise to Hannah Meadows who nearly finished Thursday with a triple-double amassing 33 assists, 14 kills and nine digs. Others who filled up the stats sheet were Brandi Bucato with 23 digs, Kate Castro with 15 kills and seven digs, Baylee Broadwater with 21 assists and two digs and Gabby Szachara with 13 kills and three blocks.
Spanish Springs improved to 12-4, 3-0 in the HDL with the win.