After a pair of 3-1 losses in matches against Woodland and West Valley last week, the Pierce Bears’ volleyball team looked to rebound on the road against Sutter on Thursday. It took all of five sets to break their two-match slide, but the Bears prevailed with a 25–27, 25–15, 25–22, 20–25, 15–9 defeat of the Huskies.
Throughout the match, Pierce’s attack was led by the likes of seniors Emily Kuykendall and Lauren Ornbaun, sophomore Emily Ehrke and junior Callie Muniz. Kuykendall led the way with 13 kills. Ornbaun finished with nine kills and 25 assists, Ehrke had eight kills and 15 assists, and Muniz had seven kills. Playing in the front row for the Bears, Muniz and Kuykendall took turns stymying the Huskies at the net, turning in three and four solo blocks, respectively, for Pierce.
The Bears and Huskies played a tight first set: Pierce was up 9-8 before Sutter went on a 5-0 run to pull ahead – a run that was punctuated by a double block from Sutter’s Bailey Minton and Jaya Bains.
A kill from Muniz gave Pierce the serve and ended the run for Sutter, and the Bears closed the gap to 14-10. Pierce was unable to capitalize from the service line, and Sutter went on another run – this time 4-0 – before Pierce’s Lauren Ornbaun saw four consecutive serves end in points for the Bears, bringing the score to 18-15. Sutter widened the gap by another point, 20-16, before Pierce freshman Betsy Myers stepped up to serve and helped propel the Bears on a 6-0 run, during which she had two aces, to put Pierce up 22-20. The game was knotted up at 25-25 when Sutter got the serve, and a kill from Kate Anderson gave Sutter the win in the first game.
Pierce came back in dominant fashion in the second set, jumping out to a 14-9 lead. An ace from Muniz opened a 7-3 run for the Bears, and while Sutter would close the gap, it would be too little, too late. Pierce won the second set handily, 25-16.
The third set was just as tightly played as the first, as both squads exchanged points and struggled to pull away. Down 13-10, Myers work at the service line was again the catalyst for a 5-0 Bears run, putting them up 15-13. After surrendering the lead, that was as close as the Huskies would get in the third set, as Pierce closed out the game with a 10-9 run for a 25-22 set win.
The Huskies forced a fifth set by winning the fourth handily, 25-19. Despite a couple of key kills from Ornbaun in the early goings of the game, Sutter went on a 7-0 run to go up 18-11, and never looked back.
Sutter scored the first point in the deciding set, but that was the last time the Huskies would lead. After the Bears scored three straight points – including one ace – with Ornbaun at the line, they never trailed again, marching onto a 15-9 victory.
Pierce’s volleyball team returns to action tonight at home, where they will face University Prep. The junior varsity game starts at 5 PM, with the varsity game to follow. ■