GARDEN VALLEY — The task facing Golden Sierra volleyball each season is a recurring theme for past, current and future Grizzly teams … namely, what to do when a league opponent is beneath your level.
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Monday was no different as Highlands, a team Golden Sierra should crush, pushed the Griz to overtime in the opening set and again in the third before succumbing 28-26, 25-6, 25-15 in Sierra Delta League action.
Golden Sierra did blast the visiting Scots in the middle set behind the hitting of Jazmin Lutey-Willard and long service runs by Jordyn Condit, Paige Murchison and Elise Wilson.
“I think we came in with the mindset we’d win and they’d roll over and we’d take it but we jumped the gun a bit,” Lutey-Willard said. “We fell back into that (same) mindset in the third (game) but were able to shake it off.”
Highlands bounced back in the last set before the Grizzlies awoke from their stupor to end on an 11-1 run, 10 coming with Abby Wever on serve. The hitting of Murchison, Wever, Condit’s dump and then her redirected hit were highlights while Lindsey Natrass’ block ended it.
“The girls stepped up at the end and served where I asked which got us a few more aces,” Golden Sierra coach Justin Cox said. “Highlands has improved a lot but unfortunately they’re small. They made us work for our kills and when the ball came back we were surprised.”
Using that standard, the Griz were shocked the entire first set as the Scots were in position to grab the lead. Golden Sierra, which battled serve-receive issues, hung in on Robin Moore’s kill and made its move on Becca Brown’s tap-down followed by Brown’s kill off Condit’s back set.
In overtime, smashes by Brittany Lashell and Lexi Chiaratti led to Condit taking the sideout and sending two blistering jump serves that Higlands failed to return.
“It’s hard to play a team that isn’t at our level … it’s a slower pace than we’re used to,” said LaShell who along with Chiaratti and Wilson led the defense. “Overall the defense played well.”