Summit stymied by lightning-fast West Grand attack, lose in 3 sets |

Summit stymied by lightning-fast West Grand attack, lose in 3 sets

Phil Lindeman

Summit vs. West Grand — Sept. 20

S1 S2 S3 Final

Summit 18 19 15 0

West Grand 25 25 25 3

Summit just couldn’t stop the attack.

For the first game of homecoming week, the Lady Tigers volleyball team (4-5 overall, 2-1 4A Western Slope) faced West Grand High School (7-3 overall) in front of a big, loud, green-and-white homecoming crowd. Summit had moments of brilliance, like an early comeback in the second set to tie things 15-15, but the starting line struggled to shut down West Grand’s barrage and lost in three sets (18-25, 19-25, 15-25).

“Their offense was super fast and we just didn’t keep up,” head coach Liz Waddick said after the game. “We did a good job when we were serving tougher, but when they were in their system they were beating us up.”

Summit got a taste of the West Grand system early in the first set. The Mustangs’ outside hitters, Gaby Willson and Sydney Ritschard, played a dangerous game led by senior setter Ashley Matney. Matney had frightening control of the ball anytime it came her way, setting it perfectly to the left or right side with lightning speed and pinpoint accuracy. The Mustangs weren’t tall by any means — no one on the team is over 5 feet, 10 inches — but they still managed to confound the Summit blockers in the first set.

Waddick and team knew they faced a tough opponent and so they came prepared. Their game plan called for confident blocking and kills to the corners, but they just couldn’t find momentum between flat feet and confusion in the center. Even sophomore hitter AnnaMarie Dodson — the 6-foot, 2-inch weapon with a team-leading 62 kills on the season — seemed off her game.

After dropping the first set, 18-25, Summit entered the second set looking exactly the same and soon let West Grand pull ahead, 2-9. Then, they found their footing. Dodson and senior Sam Buer had a few clutch kills, including a 5-0 run to knot the score at 15-15.

But that was the end of the run. Dodson had trouble with sets placed outside of the left post, while Buer just couldn’t drop the ball inside the lines with her signature kills from the middle. Summit gave up two points with serves into the net (not to mention bungled strikes on first and second hits), and before long West Grand rallied for a run of their own to end the set on serve, 19-25.

The third set started with a Summit point, but the girls again failed to capitalize on the momentum and let West Grand stay tight. The best rally of the game came as the Tigers were down, 11-14, when the crowd was amped, the coaches were silent and both teams had clutch digs on brutal hits — until it ended in a Mustangs point.

That was the nail in the coffin. West Grand capitalized on sloppy play to pull ahead, 12-21, and ended the set without giving up much more, 15-25. The gym was eerily quiet.

“This isn’t even close to what they’re capable of,” Waddick said about her team. “West Grand is good, but we can be better.”

The Lady Tigers next face Battle Mountain (2-3 overall, 2-2 4A Slope) in Edwards on Sept. 27. First set starts at 6:30 p.m.

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