By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The Golden Valley girls volleyball team (0-1) got off to a bumpy start in its four-set loss to the visiting Highland Bulldogs (1-1) in Tuesday’s non-league matchup.
Highland won with scores of 25-21, 22-25, 25-18 and 25-22.
Golden Valley was led by middle blocker Megan Moreno, who poured in 10 kills.
Moreno was in sync with her setter Mae Legaspi and it showed. The pair’s quick set attack was often too much for Highland, but wouldn’t be enough to secure a second victory set.
Legaspi also hit well and was one of four Grizzlies who registered five or more kills along with Moreno, Sophie Smith and Miranda Dahl.
Golden Valley got off on a 6-0 run early in the first set and maintained a solid lead for most of the opening game. The Bulldogs managed to stay in it just enough and would end up pulling away with the set thanks to four straight Grizzly hitting errors.
The home team came out with a hot start again in the second. However, the Grizzlies once again saw their solid lead be chipped away toward the end.
Highland got dangerously close but some great serving from Legaspi helped Golden Valley win its first set of the young season.
Things started to crumble in the third set. The Grizzlies lost control of the set early but kept fighting back into it. Both teams served up multiple aces to earn points but Golden Valley was penalized several times for being out of rotation.
The Bulldogs eventually got out on a 9-0 run to take the third set, 25-18.
The Grizzlies came out firing and had great success in the early going of each set.
“I was telling them I didn’t want any thoughts to creep in,” said Golden Valley head coach Sean Parchejo. “I needed them in the here and now and not being thinking of anything else except for the toss on the other side.”
Highland erased a four-point Golden Valley lead and began pulling away.
Grizzly libero Eunice Panginiban went down with an injury, leaving Parchejo a complicated task of filling her shoes midway through the fourth.
Moreno then went crazy on the net, registering her 10th kill followed by back-to-back aces at the service line. The middle helped Golden Valley pull within one point, but the team couldn’t finish.
An ace by Highland’s Sophie Hermida would end the game and start the Grizzly season in the loss column.
Legaspi knows what the team is capable of and will hope to look sharper in their next game. The senior setter knows the setters control the tempo of the game, something she wished she could’ve done a little more.
“We just have to play a little smarter with our hitting,” said Legaspi. “Other than that, I think we did a pretty good job.”
Golden Valley has firepower and a solid middle blocker corps. Parchejo will hope the team can find their groove and get back on track for their matchup with the Division 5 state champs Santa Clarita Christian School on Thursday.
“We need to have our hitters going most of the time to be competitive in this league,” said Parchejo. “I need my pins to have a massive improvement from how we did last year in order for us to have a chance.”
The Grizzlies will head to SCCS for another non-league matchup Thursday at 5:30 p.m.