FREDERICK — Whether it was good or just decent volleyball on this particular Tuesday night, both Skyline and Frederick figured out that they had a lot in common with each other.
The Warriors and Falcons continue to search for consistency on offense, all the while hoping defense can keep rallies going. Such was the case at the FHS gym, where scrappiness on both sides led to a five-set Tri-Valley League marathon — the first of the season for each of the teams.
Showing a tad more poise in the fifth set — and getting a couple big kills from Francie Shaffer — Frederick outlasted Skyline 3-2 on their home floor to get a jump start on the league.
"The huge positive for me after tonight was our defense, and now we just have to turn that defense into offense," said Frederick coach Matt Samson, whose team won 25-19, 16-25, 25-19, 24-26, 15-10 to improve to 2-4 on the season. "The girls stuck together, and we're working on that together attitude — that when things go south we know we can (rally). They're willing to put in the work, and we'll keep scrapping until we can get some offense going."
The two teams struggled to collect wins last year but split their two meetings, including a five-setter in the second matchup of the season. This time, it could not have been more of a topsy-turvy affair.
Frederick led all of Set 3 to take a 2-1 lead, but Skyline used the Warriors' 12 attack errors and some late kills of its own to pull out a thrilling fourth set.
An early 5-2 lead for Frederick in Set 5 was wiped away quickly with Warriors errors, but with the score tied at 9-9 FHS went on a 6-1 point run that included three kills, two Skyline service errors and a SHS attacking error.
"I like that we competed, and no one can say that they are going to out-work us," Skyline coach Will Rozum said after just the second match of the season. "We're working the kinks out, just making errors that with a few matches we should be able to iron out. This one, when the pressure came we just were a little unsure how to respond and that's what got us."
Though the Warriors did give up some points on the serve, they continued to attack the end line with some hard-hit balls, and that may have been one advantage that helped Frederick against the Falcons.
Samson is a proponent of the aggressive serve, and he praised the overall efforts in that phase of the game Tuesday. Meanwhile, Rozum said the Falcons didn't take enough advantage when Frederick made those mistakes.
"We are trying to be more aggressive, just so that we can get teams out of system more often," Samson said.
"We tended to error back more often than we should have," Rozum added. "I thought our defense was fine."
Frederick has a non-league matchup Thursday against Fort Morgan while Skyline continues Tri-Valley League play against Mead.