Summit volleyball remain undefeated with 3-1 win against Glenwood Springs
Special to the Daily
Many questions hung in the air before the Summit girls volleyball match on Thursday night against Glenwood Springs. Biggest of all: Was the team as good as their first two wins alluded to — or did they just face sub-par opponents early on?
The Demons were an excellent measuring stick for the question, entering with a 5-1 record and a roster of upperclassmen players. Summit was not intimidated, though, and answered the question unequivocally, taking three of four sets (25-19, 16-25, 25-17, 25-20) to remain undefeated.
“Everyone’s working toward individual goals and I was proud of the way we all pulled together tonight,” head coach Liz Waddick said. “We faced some adversity and they didn’t let it get to them.”
The Tigers jumped out to an early lead and won the first set, despite facing excellent blocking from the Demons.
The tide changed in the second set, when the Demons started blocking a number of Summit spikes. Earlier in the match these blocks had come on mostly long-range shots. Summit had yet to face a team with the ability to block these close-range shots, and their play became frantic and scattered in response. The Demons took advantage, jumping out to a 17-9 lead.
Last year, when things started falling apart like this, a loss was usually imminent.
“I’ve never seen a Summit team come back from like a loss like that,” sophomore star AnnaMarie Dodson said. “And we were defeated. I was defeated.”
This year, however, things have been different. The Tigers faced their adversity head on, pulling back to 19-15.
“We pushed really hard and kept it in our minds that we need to stay positive, and we fought back even harder, even though we lost,” Dodson explained. “I think this team really brought that to the table, and that we’re there to win.”
Even though they lost the set, the late comeback set a precedent for the rest of the match. In the third set, Summit struck back with vengeance. Thanks to excellent set-up passes from Anna Mathis and Sam Buer, the Tigers were able to hold long volleys with the Demons and deliver strong punches with spikes from Dodson and blocks from Mia Popoff.
In the match point volley, a few touch passes set up Dodson for her second match point spike of the game — a forceful punch into the reeling Demon backcourt.
“We haven’t really focused on hitting around the box because we haven’t really faced up against a team that is blocking,” Dodson said. “We really improved and found our mistakes and came back from that.”
Summit had the chance to finish off the Demons in the fourth set and took full advantage. Sophomore Emma McComb got it started with a perfect touch shot that fell between two sprawling Demons. The set went back-and-forth for a while, but, by the end, Dodson and the Tigers were in full control. The sophomore star was everywhere: threading the ball between Glenwood players for two aces and countless spikes that thundered down on the defense. She finished the match with 14 kills.
It wasn’t always pretty but they got it done, proving (for now) that 2016 Summit volleyball is for real.
“We really showed our true potential tonight … I’m excited for what’s next to come,” Dodson said. “I was a little worried at first to be honest, but we did amazing.”
The Tigers (3-0 overall, 2-0 league) get another test this weekend when they play a Bishop-Machebeuf tournament featuring some of the more talented small-school teams in Colorado. The Tigers open up play Saturday against private school power St. Mary’s (3-0) — a state tournament participant from last season. A matchup of particular interest for coach Waddick is the team’s third game against Fleming, the No. 8 1A team in the state.
“They come up here during the summer and play with us, so we know them well,” Waddick said. “They’re really good, and I,” a pause, “really want to beat them.”
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