Golden Valley High’s girls volleyball team couldn’t seem to find holes in the Highland High of Palmdale defense the first two games during a preleague match Thursday night at Golden Valley.
That’s because there weren’t any.
But despite a comeback in the third game and a back-and-forth game four, the Grizzlies dropped their match to the Bulldogs in four games by scores of 25-13, 25-6, 22-25 and 25-20.
“They took away what we did well and made us adjust to our second and third shot,” said Golden Valley coach Erick Beck. “It took us until the third game to figure out that we have to take away their two best hitters.
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“They stuck to their game plan, and I give them credit for that.”
Highland’s game plan was to not let anything through the front three.
And if Golden Valley’s attackers — Ciera McGuinness, Jordan Nunez, Sydney Overton and Ashley Williams — got the first attack passed the front line, the back row was there to dig it up.
The Grizzlies (0-2) only managed to terminate four kills in the first game and one in the second, dropping the first two games 25-13 and 25-6.
“Our blocks were solid in both rotations,” said Highland coach Tina Diaz about her team’s defense.
Raquel Valdovinos tallied eight total blocks on the night for Highland (1-0), while starting middle blocker Jada Dunham added four blocks and five kills.
But Golden Valley found a way to get back in the match with McGuinness’ opening ace and a Nunez kill in game three. Nunez led the Grizzlies with a match-high nine kills.
“I think it’s our energy (that got us back into the match),” McGuinness said. “We motivate each other, and we started to take away what they were good at. We started adjusting. We started covering the line more and starting to cover the tips and get the balls up.”
Not only did the Grizzly defense step up, but aces started dropping in from Samantha Jarra (two) and Julia Ekmekchyan (one).
Golden Valley couldn’t use the momentum to force a tie-breaking game in a back-and-forth game four.
But what was most important to McGuinness was the Grizzlies’ fight.
“I think we want this more than ever, and this is the last year,” McGuinness said. “We have eight or nine seniors on the team, and we just want to show GV that we’re better than all of the years before. I think fighting back was really, really important to us.”