ERIE — With two of the first three sets on Tuesday needing an extra point to declare a victor, the Erie and Mead volleyball teams were in a Tri-Valley League tussle that certainly reflected each of their Class 4A state ranking and their high RPI.
With that came, at first, a little bit of tension for both sides. However, as the road smoothed out, the youthful Mavericks rode the momentum of winning two tight games in a row to pull the carpet out from under the Tigers, 3-1, at the Erie High gym.
Freshman Quincey Coyle had 21 kills, sophomore Kenzie Morton added eight kills and the Mavericks racked up 15 aces to improve to 8-2 on the season and 2-1 in the uber-competitive TVL.
"It was a very intense game, and Erie is a very good team," said Morton, who had a pair of aces, a block and three digs in the win. "The league is great competition and it's just going to make us grow as a team."
Mead is showing some grit despite having just four upperclassmen, and Mavericks head coach Juliane Mosebar said the team really gained a lot from a loss against Windsor last week. Mead's only other loss was a two-set tournament match against a good Denver Christian team, and MHS' RPI sat at No. 3 in 4A entering Tuesday's round of action.
"I think once we were able to let the nerves dissipate a little bit, we were able to play well in our roles and those younger players started to feel comfortable," Mosebar said. "The big thing is that we wanted them to play for the aggressive plays, not make the passive errors that often turn into mistakes. They took big swings when they were set up, and we trusted that.
"I really thought we firmed up on our defensive responsibilities since that Windsor match. If we're going to get taken down by anyone, we're going to be scratching and clawing the whole way."
The teams were evenly matched, to be true, and through the first three games there weren't many leads for either side greater than four points. But after Erie (7-5, 0-3) won game one on the strength of a Addyson Huber block and a Sydney Crites kill to break a 24-24 tie, it was visiting Mead that had the closer's mentality.
The Mavericks survived a small 21-19 deficit in game two, getting consecutive aces from Hailee Martinez to make it 24-22 at one point — MHS would win the game on an Erie service error. In game three, Mead and Erie were tied at 23-23 and 24-24 before Coyle delivered a tip kill and a net-grazing ace to give Mead the win.
Game four was all Mead, and the Mavericks did not let Erie sniff the possibility of a rally.
"In the first set, I felt we were very tense and just couldn't get any momentum," Morton said. "But our coach just said to take that as a warmup, just go out and win the next set and go out there and give it our all."
Crites and Kate Sebesta were strong on Erie's side in the attack, but Mead's Hope Borger tallied an impressive 27 digs to along with her five aces. Martinez had 43 set assists.
Mead will not play again until next Tuesday at Fort Morgan, while Erie (No. 6 in 4A RPI) is back on the court Thursday at Windsor.
Mead 3, Erie 1
At Erie HSMead (8-2, 2-1)24252625Erie (7-5, 0-3)26232413
Kills — Mead: Quincey Coyle 21, Kenzie Morton 8, Abbey Glynn 7, Phoenix Wilke 6; Erie: stats not available.
Blocks — Mead: Glynn 4, Coyle 3.
Assists — Mead: Hailee Martinez 43.
Aces — Mead: Hope Borger 5, Martinez 4, Coyle 3, Morton 2.
Digs — Mead: Borger 27, Lauren Steidl 11, Martinez 8.