September 21, 2010 - 2:49 pm
Green Valley used stellar defense to stave off two match points Tuesday night at Coronado.
But outside hitter Kuulei Piena’s blast off a Green Valley block locked up a 17-25, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 15-11 victory for the Cougars.
“Green Valley played great defense; they dug a ton of balls early,” Coronado coach Matt Johnson said. “They served tough. We didn’t play our best. We can still improve.”
Piena finished with 20 kills, and setter Katie Gamsky added 35 assists, to help Coronado improved to a 12-1 overall record and 3-0 in Southeast League play, where the Cougars are tied with Silverado for first place. The Gators (11-2, 2-1) fell a game back.
Green Valley stormed to an early 9-3 lead, prompting Johnson to use his first timeout. Green Valley’s confident play coupled with Coronado service errors, hitting errors and timid offensive attack gave the Gators a comfortable 25-17 win.
Teams took turns trading leads and scoring runs through the next two sets, but ultimately, Green Valley failed to score points late in each set when their best two servers, Emma Johnson and Caitlin Brickley, were at the line, and Coronado took control of the match — with a few well-timed digs by Coronado libero Michelle Lisowski.
“We need to work to improve our defense and decision-making skills,” Green Valley coach Erin Hill said. “Our serve receive broke down.”
The Gators used a 10-3 run in the fourth set to force a fifth set.
But the Cougars stabilized in the decider while capitalizing on several unforced Green Valley errors to take an early 9-4 lead.
The Gators pulled within three points at 14-11, but Piena’s kill ended their comeback hopes.
Nikki Drost led Green Valley with 15 kills, and Jenna Swaffer notched 41 assists for the Gators.