Summit volleyball loses to No. 5 Delta in 4 sets
Summit vs. Delta
Score 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Summit 22 25 19 22 1
Delta 25 13 25 25 3
FRISCO — It’s been a season of near misses and clutch mistakes for the Summit volleyball team. The Tigers (6-7) came up short in a hard-fought match against No. 5 Delta (15-2) on Tuesday, losing in four sets after blowing out the 4A Western Slope leaders in the second set, 25-13. The remaining three sets were decided by six or fewer points.
“Delta is a solid team right now,” head coach Liz Hughes said. “They’re just very good at adjusting. They adjust how they play through the game, so they’re hard to beat. They don’t make the same mistake twice.”
The Tigers have cut down on mistakes since they last faced Delta on Sept. 26, and it showed in the first set of the home match. The Tigers won the opening point — they won the first point in all four sets — and quickly capitalized on the momentum, leading Delta by as many as four points until a few miscues in the final volleys gave Delta the win, 22-25.
Summit’s veteran seniors, Lexi Zangari and Emily Wallace, were a force to be reckoned with. Zangari managed to dig just about every tough spike from Delta’s biggest threat, 6-foot outside hitter Ashton Reese, usually setting up Wallace for authoritative kills of her own. If games were determined by hitting percentage, the Tigers would have dominated Delta, a team known for a fluid offensive line.
Look at the second set. The Tigers started strong again, winning the first four points on a strong set of serves by Zangari. Delta picked away in pieces, but they rarely put together a strong set of volleys. When they did, Summit responded immediately, picking away at holes in the middle with pinpoint hitting.
It was a team effort from start to finish, with Zangari and Wallace getting plenty of help from the rest of the starting line and regular subs. Senior Michelle Frias had several strong hits at key moments. So did Anna Dodson, the sole freshman on the varsity squad. The confident front line had plenty of support from sophomore Sage Kent in the middle — she had nearly as many digs as Zangari, who seemed to be everywhere — and senior Kait Akers stepped up with a string of ace serves in the second and third sets.
“I was excited that we were playing aggressively,” Hughes said. “Could they have played more aggressively? Yes, because I’d rather have us make aggressive errors rather than lazy errors.”
After putting on a show in the second set, the Tigers had control and pace on their side. Delta looked deflated at the break, while the Summit players were dancing and smiling and singing along to the tune of Otis Redding’s “Shout.” They were focused but relaxed, playful but on fire. This match was there’s for the taking.
Then the mistakes and errors reared their ugly heads. The third set was nearly a repeat of the first, with close volleys through the first 15 points. But Delta capitalized on two or three serves into the net for their strongest win of the match, 25-19.
But the Tigers were at home, where they’ve won the majority of their games this season, and they were coming off a string of two must-have wins against Rifle and Palisade. The fourth set was tight again until the final few points, when the Tigers let Delta drop a few fluke bumps onto the unprotected court. After a heart stopping late-set rally from the home team, Delta came out on top with another bump over the Summit defense to win 25-22.
“It’s the same thing that happened with us against Steamboat,” Hughes said of the home advantage. “When we played them in this gym, we owned them the whole time until when we get to the 20s. We get there, and we start getting nervous like we can’t win it.”
The Tigers’ schedule doesn’t get any easier. They face a tough Eagle Valley team (10-5) in Gypsum on Oct. 17 before hosting rival Battle Mountain (9-6) on Oct. 20 for the final home match of the season. The Tigers took Battle Mountain to four sets in the last match on Sept. 24.
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