In a match that saw leads gained, lost and uneven play on both sides of the net, host El Dorado swept Union Mine 25-12, 27-25, 25-23 Tuesday in the small gym.
The second set was the match highlight. Back and forth, the Cougars rallied from a 24-23 deficit to force overtime and win on Tait Miller’s one-handed deposit of a stray bump. The evening’s biggest play was Dustin Brown’s block of D’back Christian Fredericks that broke a 19-19 tie in the third set.
“I thought the team really fought hard. Union Mine came at us with their big middle who served lights out,” El Dorado coach Alan Magat said. “Once we figured out our back row line we were able to push the ball up and our setters took it from there.”
Missing four starters, the Cougars went with a makeshift lineup while Union Mine’s squad is void of four starters who didn’t return. The D’backs are coached by former Union Mine setter Jessica Spitzer (Endean) and the team was playing its first match.
“We haven’t played preseason matches or any tournaments so I didn’t know which way this would go,” Spitzer said. “Though we lost in three I’m proud of them.
Behind Miller, Landen Warren, Dominic Morgan, Brown, John Coyne and Weston Radedemacher, El Dorado controlled the first set.
Unforced errors plagued both teams in a close second set. The D’backs relied on Fredericks, Michael Stevenson, Derek McCulloch, setter Shay Barba, Kyle Gardner and libero Chris Lee in their bid to tie the match but late mistakes derailed those hopes.
Union Mine led 8-2 in the third set and held the lead all the way to 19-18 before Brown’s big block pulled the Cougars even. Trailing 24-21, Stevenson’s play earned the D’backs the next two points but a serve that sailed long ended it.
“Our right side and outside hitters really put the ball down and the setting was spot on tonight,” Magat said.