FREDERICK — Emotions ran high Saturday in Frederick where the Warriors were facing an undefeated Mead team with the final week of the volleyball regular season on the horizon.
By the end of a three-set match decided by a total of seven points, it was the Warriors who were able to let go of those emotions and celebrate.
Frederick (11-2) defeated the Mavericks 25-22, 27-25, 26-24, handing Mead (7-1) its first loss of the season. It was the Warriors’ sixth-straight victory after they suffered their only two losses earlier this month. They close out the regular season Wednesday at Erie.
Mead is in a brutal stretch of its schedule after its season has been hampered by quarantines. The Mavericks, after playing six matches last week, will play five matches next week, including two on Monday. They will have to regroup following Saturday’s loss.
“This is huge for my girls,” Frederick head coach Suzanne Robison said. “There’s a lot of friendships. There’s a lot of relationships. These kids have played together, gone to school together. There were a lot of emotions in this game for both sides.”
Mead came into the contest ranked No. 3 in the Class 4A RPI rankings. Frederick was ranked No. 14 and should get a boost with its victory over the Mavericks.
While the Warriors did sweep the match, all three sets were decided by three points or less and two of the three went beyond the 25 points needed for a win.
“We have wanted to beat Mead for so long,” Frederick senior Ashlynn Grant-Miller said. “We finally have and it feels amazing.”
In all three sets, the Warriors jumped out to early leads before the Mavericks battled back each time.
Frederick led 12-8 in the first set before Mead scored four straight points to tie it at 12-12. Neither team led by more than two until the Warriors went ahead 23-19. Trailing 24-21, the Mavericks got a big kill by Quincey Cole to pull within two, but Cole’s ensuing serve went too far and Frederick claimed the first set by three points.
In the second set, the Warriors jumped out to a 17-11 lead before the Mavericks fought back. They tied the game at 21, 22, 24 and 25. A kill by Katelin Sindelar gave Frederick a 26-25 advantage and then Kinley Lindhardt got the set-winning kill to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead heading to the third set.
“It was just perseverance,” Grant-Miller said. “We push through everything. Even if we are behind so many points, we just work as a team and push through it.”
A set away from the sweep, the Warriors led by seven late in the third before the Mavericks made a familiar comeback. Trailing 23-16, Mead scored four straight points to cut the Frederick lead to 23-20.
Then at 24-20, the Mavericks scored four straight points to tie the set at 24-24. A service error by Mead made it 25-24 and then Lindhardt knocked home the match-winning kill to wrap up the victory.
“Our goal this whole thing was to take it five points at a time,” Robison said. “Get five points, first to 5, first to 10, first to 15, first to 20, first to 25, that was the goal. They were playing mini matches and they did their job.”
Mead, which came into the match having won five games in four days, now has to play five in five days, starting with Windsor and Greeley West on Monday. The Mavericks will have Tuesday off before facing Longmont on Wednesday, Thompson Valley on Thursday and Eaton on Friday.
Frederick, coming off the victory and having only one opponent remaining in Erie on Wednesday is feeling confident, not only about that match, but also a postseason run.
“After winning this one, we have so much confidence and energy and we are just ready to do it all,” Grant-Miller said. “It is really exciting.”