SNOWFLAKE — The first set of this Sept. 28 White Mountain matchup felt sloppy. Neither team could get much going at the net in the beginning.
The defenses seemed to struggle returning serves and it quickly turned into a match of avoiding mistakes rather than attacking the other team.
Snowflake had the serving prowess and Braxton Jones got the first five serves over the net, jumping her team out to an early lead. Eventually Snowflake’s outside hitters, Macee LeSueur and Addy Fisher, woke up and got things going.
Show Low libero Hanna Buchholz had the tall task of guarding against the Snowflake power servers. She did well, especially in the first game, giving her setters a better chance to help the hitters.
One play in particular showed Snowflake’s determination. Fisher attacked and was blocked by Show Low’s Kyra Brogan. Undeterred, Fisher yelled for another set. Jones obliged her. This time, Fisher smashed the ball home to score the point. Fisher displayed maturity and grit that is rare from a sophomore.
The first match ended 25-7 for the Lobos.
The story of the second match revolved around the consistent serves of Lobo Kadee Penrod. She managed 12 straight serves over the net. Not all of them were aces, but she gave Show Low defenders fits and her team kept the streak going. Penrod cut her own streak short with a miscue, sending the ball into the net.
Show Low’s Kieya Kraftor and Tyann Wallentine tried to fight back, getting a block here or a hit there. But Snowflake’s LeSueur refused to let her team down, attacking with serves and hits to maintain the lead. Fisher scored only one hit this game, but she chose a good one: the game-winning spike.
The second match was in the books at 25-5.
In the last game, Show Low setter, Allie Garvin did her best to fight the Snowflake squad. She was diving to the floor, scoring on a setter dump, and giving her hitters opportunities.
But this game was won at the serving line. LeSueur and Kimberlee Eich both performed while serving. Eich showed her relentlessness on the defensive end by sacrificing for the team. She is one of the cornerstones of the Lobos’ team defense and creates a team culture by diving to the floor to make saves.
With the score at 22-6, Show Low started showing initiative. Halle Gibbens got a block to score and the Show Low student section went wild. The Cougars also scored the next two points. There may have been some nervousness on the Snowflake side. Unfortunately, this confidence came too late and Show Low lost 25-9.