Spanish Springs downed McQueen in five games 25-20, 23-25, 17-25, 25-20, 15-11 in its second five-game win in as many weeks after topping Bishop Manogue in five last Tuesday. The Cougars improved to 16-5, 7-1 in the High Desert League with the win.
“It’s nice to get that experience and know how that works,” Cougars coach Frank Sandomenico said. “We told the kids before the game they (McQueen) have no weaknesses. There is no weak player on their team. Usually there is one player you can kind of go after and they just don’t have that.”
Led by libero Brandi Brucato’s sharp defense in the first game, Spanish Springs jumped out to a 10-3 before taking the initial game. The Lancers closed the gap to 17-14 but two following errors put the game out of reach.
Brucato turned in 20 digs, five assists and three aces.
The Cougars dropped the second game 25-23 after failing to take advantage of an opportunity late. Trailing 23-21, Kate Castro sent a ball well beyond the end line but McQueen was ruled to tip the ball with a call that sent the Lancer faithful into a fury.
McQueen took two of the next three points to even the match at a game apiece.
“I was a little disappointed in Game 2,” Sandomenico said. “I kind of felt like we had that game and we gave it away. If we go up 2-0 on them, they lose some confidence. I just wish we would have had that killer instinct to put people away when we had the chance.”
Trailing 13-12 in the fourth game, and failing to find an offensive rhythm after the first game, the Cougars ripped off eight straight points with the aid of three Hannah Meadows kills. The run gave Spanish Springs a comfortable lead before forcing a fifth game with a 25-20 win.
Meadows finished with 31 assists, 10 digs, eight kills and two aces.
Kelsie Merritt was on the court for two plays Tuesday night but provided a crucial, momentum-swinging kill earlier in the fourth set to prevent her squad from going down by three.
The Cougars did not lead by more than two in the deciding fifth set before a McQueen serving error out of a timeout pushed the difference back to two at 13-11. Next, a Tayler Lodge kill followed by an ace from Meadows ended the game.
Lodge’s 15 kills were second on the team only to Gabby Szachara’s 16. Lodge also chipped in 16 digs.
“Before the season, if you would have asked anyone they would have picked McQueen as the favorite in our division so the fact we can get a win against them is huge,” Sandomenico said.
The Cougars travel to Damonte Ranch for a non-league contest Thursday.
•Reed pulled out an HDL win Tuesday but it was in much less dramatic fashion.
Reed swept aside North Valleys 25-12, 25-20, 25-15 on its home court to improve to 9-5, 4-3 in the HDL.
“I thought we did a good job of playing hard all the way through,” Raiders coach Kris Flagtvedt said. “We didn’t do the roller coaster thing like we have tended to lately.”
Samantha Bailey finished with six kills and six blocks in Maddie Funk’s spot in the middle. Funk, who missed preseason and several of the team’s opening games with mono, was enduring cold symptoms and Flagtvedt decided to give her the night off.
Annie Braun (26 assists) dispersed the ball well, which unfortunately for her teammates, did not result in eye-popping numbers.
“Annie did a good job of moving the ball around,” Flagtvedt said. “The kills were very equal so that was nice to get everyone involved.”
Mo Maluotoga led the team with seven kills while Emilie Braun and Kelsey Hicks each finished with six. Braun also threw in eight digs.
Flagtvedt has preached the importance of the Raiders playing clean volleyball on their side of the net and she felt like her squad did that Tuesday.
“I thought we did (play cleaner),” Flagtvedt said. “I didn’t see the number of errors but from watching I feel like we didn’t have as many errors as we did against Reno and McQueen. So hopefully, we can keep doing that.”
The Raiders play at Bishop Manogue Thursday.