Nina Reeves tips the ball over the net. Photo by Megan Weferling.
On Sept. 25 Atascadero varsity volleyball team had a home conference match against Mission Prep. It was a five set heartbreaker for the Hounds. They lost to the Royals, but they stayed neck and neck in every set. It was a close game, but in the end Hounds couldn't pull out on top.
The Royals got the ball first and opened with a short rally and a point for the Greyhounds. They had an early lead at 2-0 and then an ace by Hannah Hagy (3-0). After a lengthy rally, Stephanie Monson blocked an incoming spike that the Royals were unable to recover (4-0). The Royals almost got the ball back on the next rally, but a dig by Kylee Degnan kept the ball alive (6-0). The Greyhounds served the ball out of bounds; resulting in a point for the Royals and a turn over of the ball (6-1). Afterwards, Mission Prep served an ace (13-5). The Greyhounds made an attack resulting in a point and turn over of the ball (14-7). Natalie DeRose had a lethal serve that the Royals couldn't return (15-7). The Royals got the ball, but a dig by Degnan kept the Royals from getting a point (19-13). After, an excellent rally the Royals gave another point to the Greyhounds after a slip by a Mission Prep player caused her to be unable to recover (23-18). The Greyhounds scored two more easy points and won the first set with a final score of 25-18.
During the next set the Greyhounds had a rough start with the Royals leading 0-2. A block by Wright and Mikenna Goldensmith and two blocks by Monson brought AHS to 3-4. A long rally ended in a kill by Wright (5-5). Hagy made an attack (7-8). An attack by Mackenzie Wright got us the ball (12-17). The Royals had a lucky string of wins that made the score 19-22. Hagy and Julia Debruin both made blocks (21-23). The set ended two plays later with a win for the Royals 21-25.
The Greyhounds and Royals held a tie at 3-3 until Debruin made a block that the Royals couldn’t recover (4-3). From there, on the Greyhounds made shots and ended the third set at 25-19.
The Greyhounds started the fourth set with the serve and got a fast first point (1-0). Degan and Debruin had both made blocks (9-6). A turn over of the ball gave the Royals a chance to score a few more points (10-10). The Greyhounds had their eye on the ball as the hit went long and landed out of bounce (11-10). Hounds served an ace (12-10). An excellent serve by Hagy started off a great rally and another point for the Greyhounds (17-14). An attack by Goldensmith, Monson and two by Wright and a kill by Monson were made (21-16). Royals served the ball and the Greyhounds pulled away at the last second to watch it hit out of bounce (23-17). Hagy hit the ball and got the score to 25-24. Mission Prep came back with a good hit and scored a point (25-25). Royals made a tip and a block winning the fourth set (25-27).
In the fifth and final set the Royals started with the ball and got a 0-2 lead over the Hounds. A kill by Monson made the score 2-3. The game stayed close in score, but after an excellent rally, Mission dropped the ball and missed their opportunity (9-11). Degnan served an ace and brought score to 10-11. Sadly, a turnover of the ball gave Mission the ball, and they won four rallys later with a ending score of 10-15. The battle over a hard-fought five sets came to a disappointing end, but undoubtedly honed the players’ skills.
Earlier in the season on Sept. 20, the Hounds had a conference match against the Arroyo Grande Eagles, which they lost 3-1. That upset followed the Hounds second neutral tournament on Sept. 14 and 15; they won against Louisville 2-0, Mission Oak 2-0, and Morro Bay 2-1 and lost against La Reina 2-0, Centennial 2-0, Buena 2-0, and Clovis East 2-0. Prior to that match up, the team played two conference matches, winning against Templeton 3-2 on Sept. 11 and losing against San Luis Obispo 3-0 on Sept. 13.
In their first neutral tournament of the season on Sept. 7 and 8, the Atascadero varsity volleyball team won against Tehachapi 2-1, Miramonte 2-0, Tulare Western 2-1, Golden Valley 2-0, South 2-1, Frazier Mountain 2-1. The wins help fuel the palyers’ enthusiasm for the coming competitions after a mixed start to the season on Sept. 4 and 6 when they played two conference matches, winning against Paso Robles 3-0 on Sept. 4 and losing against Righetti 3-2 on Sept. 6.
The girls started competing early in pre-season with three non-conference matches; they won against St. Joseph, Morro Bay, and Pioneer Valley all 3-0 in late August and early September.
At mid-season, the varsity girls volleyball team is building its confidence with hard-fought wins and building teamwork as they look forward to finishing strong.
Note: Nina Reeves was misidentified as Julia DeBruin in a previous version of this article. Hilltop News regrets this error.