GARDEN VALLEY — Shaking off an opening-set overtime setback, visiting Oak Ridge came back to upend Golden Sierra in four — 30-32, 25-14, 25-20, 25-20 — in girls nonleague, intra-county varsity volleyball action.
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Each team came in after appearing, but not meeting, at last weekend’s Chris Craft Tournament. Tuesday, the Trojans and Grizzlies tangled in Garden Valley with the host squad gunning for the upset.
Oak Ridge, forced out of its gym because of reconstruction, controlled the second set and won-out late in sets three and four to seal the victory.
“We struggled with what we were trying to do but we pushed through,” Troy coaches Breanne Horton and Christy Bergin said. “After the first set we mixed it up — switched lineups and had much better focus. I think we could have played better — the girls felt that — but I’m happy we turned it around to win the next three.”
Hard imagining Golden Sierra playing better than the start. The Grizzlies had solid blocking and net play by Becca Brown, Abigail Wever, Robin Moore and Jazmin Lutey-Willard; savvy leadership from setter Jordyn Condit and clutch hitting by Paige Murchison to keep pace.
“We didn’t play with fear and stepped up to the challenge,” Griz coach Jutin Cox said. “In the first set we were scrappy, served tough and got them out of system. But what impressed me most was that we didn’t stop playing, we didn’t give up and we pushed ourselves.”
After an ace broke a 30-all tie, Trojan senior libero Maddie DeGeorge pulled out a save but Golden Sierra won it when Tristan Nedeigh reached back for Condit’s feed for a kill to switch the benches.
Stunned, Oak Ridge regrouped behind the play of Olivia Reed, Erin Trigger, Kelly Trigger, Emily DeMure, Moira McVicar, Elizabeth Cameron and Delaney Chaplin, to take the second set. Twice, DeMure’s push shots over the Grizzly defense scored late points for the visitors.
“It’s the beginning of the season and we’re trying to find the right chemistry and tonight it was a matter of finding what would work,” DeGeorge said.
Cox changed his tune about Tuesday’s match, especially the fact that the Griz were right with Oak Ridge until the late stages of the last two sets.
“When they scored a couple in a row we got down and allowed them to walk away … as if the games were only to 20 (points),” Cox said.
The Trojans outscored the Grizzlies 6-1 to end the third set and 10-5 to close out the fourth. Oak Ridge took the lead for good in the final game when Marissa Quilici and McVicar teamed for a block. DeGeorge’s service run, including an ace, allowed Troy to separate and Golden Sierra’s bid to force a fifth set ended on a violation.
“I didn’t come in thinking we were going to win but we did really well and it’s one of the best games we’ve played,” Condit said. “I was shocked we came through and won that first set. We knew they’d bring it harder and we had to too. had we gotten our passes and played smarter we could have won.”