By GANNON HANEVOLD
Moapa Valley Progress
The Moapa Valley High School Volleyball team had just one league game last week, on the road Thursday against Del Sol. But before that the Pirates played another game, out of league, on Tuesday night against the Meadows at home.
The Meadows had beaten the Pirates earlier this year in an intense contest. This time around, Moapa hoped to get the best of their opponent.
In the first set, Moapa came out confident and in control. But a tough Meadows opponent was equally strong. The two sides battled back and forth in a narrow first set.
Late in the first, the score was tied at 21-21, but an Eden Whitmore kill broke the tie and the Pirates held on to win it 25-22.
In the second, the Mustangs bounced back. Moapa Valley came out to a 5-1 lead early on. But then The Meadows stormed back to claim an impressive 25-14 victory.
In the third, the Pirates still not able to shake off the rust from the loss in the previous set. They would lose that one 25-15.
Desperate for a turnaround the Pirates began the fourth set tied 6-6. But then Moapa rattled off six unanswered scores, including a Shelbi Walker block.
The Pirates would allow things to get closer. But they heated up again later in the set. An Eden Whitmore kill and a Walker ace made the score 19-11.
Just when Moapa felt comfortable, the Mustangs stormed back, and it was all of a sudden tied at 22.
Back to back Dannika Gordon kills sent the Pirate fans wild, and the momentum of the crowd was enough to carry Moapa to a 25-23 win, setting the stage for a tiebreaking fifth set.
The Pirates played some of their best volleyball yet in the fifth set. Gordon, Walker, and Whitmore led the way once again. The team would win 15-8, going home with an exhilarating five set victory.
“Overall, I like the resilience they showed,” Moapa head coach Mandie Matheson said of her team. “It was kind of a little gut check. It was definitely frustrating that we let down after the first set and let them come back. But they are a talented and disciplined team. That provided us a great opportunity to play a team with that type of talent.”
Matheson explained service errors that were present in the second and third sets. “We gave away way too many points on our service errors,” she said. “It was mental errors. Once they got it intact in sets four and five, things went pretty well.”
In the second game of the week, the Pirates went on the road to take on the Del Sol Dragons. In the first set, Del Sol surprised the Pirates with a hard fought match. The Pirates would win 25-22, much closer than they expected.
The Pirates would go on to win the second and third sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-8 respectively.
“I think the girls took it a little for granted,” Matheson said. “I think it was a situation where they just had a hard time getting off the bus. Once we woke up, we came back in true Pirate fashion.”
As the season continues, the Pirates still have their eyes on success at the state tournament. “You have to beat the best to be the best so we have to be mentally and physically prepared every single match,” Matheson said. “Having been there last year, they have the extra motivation because they’ve experienced it and know what is expected of them.”