After the dual staged Monday between the Silverado and Green Valley girls volleyball teams, the Oct. 30 rematch can’t come soon enough.
In a battle between the top two teams in the Southeast League, the host Skyhawks survived numerous momentum swings and an inspired effort from Green Valley to pull out a 26-24, 15-25, 25-21, 27-29, 15-13 win that gave them sole possession of first place.
“We know Green Valley always comes with a lot of competition,” Silverado coach Jennifer Boeddeker said. “I think that it’s always been a Green Valley-Silverado thing where we look to bring the best to each other. They do something, and we try to match it the best we can.”
Junior outside hitter Taylor Richard recorded 25 kills, junior Kaitlin Keathley added 13 kills and five blocks, and sophomore setter Marilyn Agae had 41 assists for the defending 4A state champion Skyhawks (20-4 7-0 Southeast).
The Gators (18-10, 6-1) were led by junior outside hitter Siga Appelgate’s 14 kills, and senior middle blocker Sydney Brozovich had 12 kills and three aces. Sophomore setter Jena Chavez finished with 36 assists, and Emma Johnson had seven aces, including three in a row during the second game.
Green Valley appeared to take control in the third game, going up 19-11 before being outscored 14-2 by the Skyhawks. The turning point came when the Gators were penalized for delay of game after calling a timeout they didn’t have. That made the score 19-16, and Richard took over down the stretch for Silverado, notching seven kills.
“I felt like I had to pick my head up and help out my team, because I was letting them down the whole first part of that game,” Richard said. “I felt like it was up to me to make a difference.”
Despite not being able to close out that game, the Gators responded in Game 4. Silverado took an 18-15 lead, but some big serving by senior Megan Schiess helped Green Valley go up 21-19. The Gators then fought off two match points before Brozovich stuffed Richard on the final point to send the match to a fifth game.
Silverado jumped to a 4-1 advantage that grew to 9-5 in the final game when Agae’s serve hit the top of the net and dropped in for an ace. The Gators rallied to cut the deficit to 13-12 on an Appelgate block, but Richard’s big kill out of the back row made it 14-12. After Appelgate staved off one match point with a kill, Keathley ended it with a kill off a quick set from Agae.
“In Game 5, I felt like we were tentative the whole game,” Green Valley coach Erin Hill said. “We’ve just got to work to be aggressive no matter what the score is and who we are playing. Credit to Silverado. They pulled it out again.”
The Skyhawks owned a 24-20 lead in the first game, only to see Green Valley rally as it did throughout the match. Two kills by Brozovich and one from Elizabeth Groesbeck helped tie the score at 24-24 before two consecutive errors gave Silverado the game.
Green Valley answered in Game 2, jumping out to a 9-2 advantage behind the strong serving of Johnson. The lead grew to as much as 22-10 before the Gators closed it out.
“This is a great learning experience for our team,” Richard said. “We learned a lot, and I’m sure we’re going to improve from this. We had to work together to win that (match). It couldn’t have been just one person.”