Hayden volleyball keeps heads high, energy up in victory over Vail Mountain
HAYDEN — Fifth sets are always intense. By the time the 15-point set rolls around, the teams have combated for about an hour and a half and with everything tied at two, the teams are obviously closely matched.
Such was the case on Friday evening when the Hayden High SChool volleyball team and Vail Mountain went to a fifth set, especially since Hayden came away with an intense 27-25 victory in the fourth set. Thanks to a boundless positive energy, the Tigers won 15-10 to earn the 3-2 victory over Vail Mountain.
“They definitely brushed it off. They usually hold grudges and hold on to previous points,” said head coach Kaitlyn Rudolph. “Today they were just like, ‘Let’s get the next one. This serve is going to come to me. I’m going to get it and win it for my team.’”
Tigers junior Bella Svoboda was electric, serving the Tigers to a 5-0 lead. After her teammate forced the ball up with a wild save off the net, senior Piper Jo Jones used a drop shot on the back line to make it 6-0.
Of course, it couldn’t be that easy. Vail Mountain came back to tie the set at eight. A Svodoba strike gave the Tigers an 11-8 lead. She blocked the next Gore Rangers attack to make it 12-8.
Sealed with an exuberant roar from the entire team, Hayden won the fifth set 15-10.
Svoboda, who moved to Hayden this year, is technically the team’s main setter, but is good at everything. She has an intimidating serve and a swing that proved lethal to the Gore Rangers. She doesn’t think any of those skills was the reason her team won Friday, though.
“I don’t think even the playing was really what mattered,” she said. “I really try to keep everybody positive. Trying to set everything up, have everybody communicating and put a smile on their face.”
Svoboda said that attitude was crucial to the victory.
In the opening set, the Hayden volleyball team pulled ahead from Vail Mountain 11-10. The first portion of the second set had been back and forth, but the point started a hot streak for the Tigers.
Sophomore Emily Rajzer and senior Jillian Bennett contributed big hits to push ahead 13-10. A few minutes later, Rajzer swung again to go up 15-11. The Gore Rangers got within two, 20-18, but Hayden was on a roll. A Bennett block pushed the score to 24-20 and an errant hit by the Gore Rangers gave Hayden the 25-20 win to tie the night at one set a piece.
The Gore Rangers came back to win a competitive third set, 25-18. Hayden had the same energy they exhibited in the second, but made more mistakes than Vail Mountain. Mistakes that they cracked down on in the fourth set.
Not only did Hayden start taking smart shots again in the fourth, the Gore Rangers were firing the ball out of bounds. Svoboda used a kill to build a 12-8 lead. Vail Mountain stayed in it, but the head coach called a timeout as Hayden earned a 20-15 lead with yet another Gore Rangers error.
Vail Mountain tightened up and cut the deficit to 21-19. The Tigers nearly lost it, as Vail Mountain tied things up at 24, but they stayed focused for the 27-25 win.
“There were some safe plays, but also more smart plays, controlled plays and that was what did it,” Svoboda said.
Hayden 3, Vail Mountain 2
VM 25 20 25 25 10
H 13 25 18 27 15
Aug. 27-28 - Rangely Tournament, 2-2
Sept. 10 - vs. Vail Mountain, W 3-2 (13-25, 25-20, 18-25, 27-25, 15-10)
Sept. 11 - at Plateau Valley, L 3-1 (19-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-19)
Sept. 17 - at West Grand, L 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-20)
Sept. 18 - at Caprock Academy, W 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 27-25)
Sept. 25 - at Meeker, L 3-0 (25-15, 25-11, 25-10)
Sept. 30 - vs. North Park (senior night), L 3-2 (25-18, 25-14, 18-25, 19-25, 15-12)
Oct. 1 - at Rangely, L 3-2 (25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 23-25, 16-14)
Oct. 7 - vs. Moffat County, W 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23)
Oct. 9 - at Vail Christian 3 p.m.
Oct. 14 - vs. Baggs, Wyo. 6 p.m.
Oct. 15 - vs. Plateau Valley (homecoming), 6 p.m.
Oct. 16 - vs. DeBeque, 1 p.m.
Oct. 21 - at North Park, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 23 - at Olathe, 3 p.m.
Oct. 28 - vs. Rangely, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 - at Soroco, 6 p.m.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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