Tigers fall just short against powerhouse Mustangs
ARVADA – Losses don’t get much tougher to stomach than that which the Summit High School volleyball team endured Wednesday evening at Ralston Valley.The Tigers lost the first two games handily to the defending 4A Jeffco League champion Mustangs, 25-15 and 25-16. Then Ralston took out three of its starters for the third game, apparently figuring its bench – or, in the words of SHS coach Gary Sorensen, “the A-minus team” – could finish the task at hand.Wrong. Summit stormed back to take an 11-7 lead in the third game before the Mustangs reinserted their three starters and surged to a 15-14 lead. Undaunted, the Tigers won 11 of the next 14 points to stay alive with a 25-18 win and force a fourth game.
In that game, the two teams played back-and-forth volleyball, trading ownership of the critical Big Mo – momentum. Summit eventually prevailed, 27-25, and suddenly it looked like the hungry young SHS players would complete their improbable comeback. Alas, a pair of aces by Ralston early in the fifth and deciding game rattled the Tigers, and the hosts held on for a 15-9 win to take the match.”That was emotionally ripping,” Sorensen said. “We had ’em on the hook and let ’em off. But they can be saying the same thing.”Due to the wildfire yards from Summit High that interrupted every Tiger team’s week on Monday, Sorensen’s players were not as sharp as he hoped they would be going into the crucial league opener. They missed practice on Monday, then had a subpar workout Tuesday at the middle school gym.
Still, after the forgettable first two games, the potential-rich group started to shine. This was, as in many matches this year, largely due to junior Anicia Santos. The lanky middle hitter finished with 21 kills and four blocks, despite the Mustangs’ repeated use of three blockers at a time to try and stop her.”She just about tipped them to death,” Sorensen said of Santos’ perceptive and crafty plan B at the net. “They couldn’t figure out how they were going to block her.”Shea Dickey chipped in from the outside with nine kills and eight digs, while setter Rachael Fridkis had a career night, finishing with 24 assists and five kills. Sophomore Ariel Strickler led the team with 11 digs.
Summit dropped to 6-4 overall, 0-1 in Jeffco play. Ralston Valley, which plays a brutal early season schedule full of matches against 5A teams, improved to 4-6 (1-0). The Tigers next play Friday night at Alameda, then host Conifer on Tuesday for their Homecoming match.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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