Alliance’s varsity volleyball squad breezed through Pool A Saturday at home during the Pilfold Invite. The 3-0 performance brought the Bulldogs to the championship match with Yuma, Colo.
The home team played a close match with a formidable opponent. The Indians are now 22-1 and ranked No. 10 in Colorado. Alliance took the first set 25-22 then lost the next two 25-21 and 25-22.
The third set was closer and followed the trend of the first set with Yuma ahead this time. AHS was up 20-19 then tied 20-20. “Towards the end of that set we were point for point which was really exciting,” AHS Head Coach Jessica Kaiser said. “Yuma had one of the best middle hitters that we have been up against and she really came through for them at the end of the 3rd set.”
Alliance held the lead throughout the first set against Yuma. “I think we were more focused in the first set, we just could (not) make adjustments in the next 2,” she said.
AHS had several aces and blocks to score on offense and defense in the initial set. “It was a battle between two very talented teams,” Kaiser said. “I think Yuma did a better job focusing on the little things and that is why they came out on top.”
Emersen was key to the win with several timely kills. “Emersen was swinging hard that she was before her shoulder injury so that was really great to see,” Kaiser said.
In the second set Alliance fell behind and had a tough time staying in striking distance. “We came out flat in the second set and were making too may unforced errors,” she said. “I think we did do a nice job clawing our way back into both the send and third sets. It’s always nice to see the girls battle and not give up but we need to focus more on not allowing teams to rally on us.”
Against the Indians Emerson Cyza landed 22 kills. Ryley Rolls had 12 and Jordan Hopp 5. Rolls also managed five aces with Cyza and Megan Oligmueller with one each. Hopp led defense at the net as AHS’s tallest player tallied four blocks. Rolls had 14 digs and Cyza added 13. Rolls had the most under serve receiving with 24 joined by Khloe Felker and Cyza with 13 apiece.
A challenge is welcome.
“It is always great to play teams like Yuma, they were state champs last year. These are the types of teams we need to be playing to get better,” Kaiser commented. “I was happy with the fight the girls showed with never laying down and giving up. After the match we talked about having to really focus on the small things, just to many unforced errors and getting stuck in transition on defense.
“We didn't know much at all about them coming in, just that they were a really talented team winning state last year and coming into the tournament with just one loss on the season.”
Pool play brought a number of Bulldogs off the bench. In some matches the opponents were having difficulty returning serves. “It was great to get the girls on the bench some experience,” Kaiser said. “We did a nice job playing to our potential all the time and not giving up points.”
Hosting a late-season tournament can valuable. “Playing teams like Yuma at this point in the season will be really beneficial for us, they pushed and really showed us areas of our game that we need to work on,” Kaiser said.