Summit varsity volleyball loses tight match to Eagle Valley Sept. 17 |

Summit varsity volleyball loses tight match to Eagle Valley Sept. 17

Summit vs. Eagle Valley

Score 1st 2nd 3rd Final

Summit 24 21 17 0

EV 26 25 25 3

In an alternately tight and haphazard match, the Tigers varsity volleyball team lost three close sets to cross-county rivals the Eagle Valley Devils at home on Sept. 17.

The Summit team was taller and more confident on the back line than EV, but, after a strong first set, the senior-heavy squad struggled with striking and protecting the net. EV managed to outpace Summit when it mattered, recording several runs off of six or seven points early in the final two sets, while the home team only managed two 4-0 runs and a single 5-0 run throughout the match.

The first set was the tightest of the night, with Summit and EV trading leads early until Summit pulled ahead to 13-10. Six-foot senior Emily Wallace set up her team’s first run of 4-0 with two aces — the first of the set — as the student section chanted and cheered and went wild on the hardwood.

And why not? This year’s Summit team is a promising one, with five veteran seniors who can serve, set and, when everyone is in position, spike with pinpoint accuracy. Take Wallace: Her two ace serves were monsters, flying low and straight, inches above the net before dropping into gaps in the EV line.

Summit pulled ahead to 17-14 with another slew of strong, confident serves from senior Lexi Zangari and left-side kills from Wallace. But, EV senior Carlee Morrison was a threat from anywhere on the court, and she quickly led her team to 18-18 with several quick kills from the outside.

The set turned into a tight match at 18s, with Summit and EV trading points on long, sustained volleys. The Summit front line finally managed to put a damper on Morrison’s striking until the final two points at 24-24.

The tie-game volley lasted nearly 40 seconds, with clutch digs on both sides when hitters went for the kill. It ended when Summit blockers bumped the net, handing EV the gimme point. EV’s Morrison took to the back line and finished the match with an ace, 24-26.

That near-win should have been Summit’s, and the team knew it. The second set felt flat and deflated, with sloppy communication on the Tigers front line and missed opportunities on easy points. And the Devils took advantage. Morrison and fellow EV hitter Kylie Martin started picking apart Summit’s left side, notching kill after kill on the paint for a run of seven unanswered points.

After the biggest disparity of the set (6-12), Summit slowly started closing the gap but never pulled ahead. The Tigers pulled within two points near the end thanks to strong serves and outside kills from Wallace, Zangari and junior Sam Buer. But, EV again capitalized on miscommunication on the Summit line, hitting gaps and holes to end 21-25.

Summit entered the third set more confidently than the first, but by then, they’d lost all energy from the first set. They started strong, with several runs of three unanswered points. EV then returned with its own string of point runs, tying the set 15-15 at the midpoint.

The Tigers’ communication demons then resurfaced in the form of six unanswered points from the Devils. Again, Morrison picked the Summit line apart, notching several kills with assists from an energized EV front line.

The set quickly got away from Summit, 17-24. On match point, EV setter Molly Jewett won with an ace to the middle when two Summit players both reached for the first touch. The ball caromed into the student section — the Tiger fans hadn’t stopped cheering since the first set — and Summit lost in anticlimactic fashion. That last ace was Summit’s second and third sets in a nutshell: The Tigers beat themselves.

The Sept. 17 loss gives Summit a 1-1 record in league play. The next match is another Western Slope game against Glenwood Springs (4-3 overall, 1-0 league) in Glenwood on Sept. 19.

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