When Colusa and Pierce last met on the volleyball court on Sept. 20 in Arbuckle, the RedHawks dominated the Bears in a three game sweep, but the Bears entered last week’s match in Colusa a different team – both in terms of mindset and strategy – and they evened the score against their rivals for the season.
After losing a hard-fought first set to Colusa that featured plenty of hard hitting and long rally after long rally, Pierce stormed back to win the next three, winning the match by scores of 22-25, 25-19, 25-22, and 25-19.
After her team was swept in their Sept. 9 match, Pierce head coach Kim Travis knew she would have to make some significant changes to beat with Colusa – which Travis admitted she isn’t accustomed to.
“I just told (Colusa head coach) Tina (Lyons) – she’s done a phenomenal job with Colusa’s program,” Travis said at the conclusion of Arbuckle’s 3-1 win over the RedHawks on Oct. 9. “I’ve never had to find a new rotation and a new offense, and that’s what we’ve been working on for the past two weeks, because they dominated us in the first go-round.”
Those changes paid off, as did Pierce’s recent trip to San Diego for the Southern California FieldLevel Invitational, Travis said, where her team fared well against a field of high-caliber opponents.
“We were able to compete – we went 5-3 there, but we were still able to compete, even in the games we lost,” Travis said.
That was a confidence booster heading into last week’s game against their rivals.
“I just told them that you have to visualize that you’re playing somebody else, besides your county rival,” Travis said. “Just visualize you’re playing these teams, and take it point by point. I felt they did good in that today.”
By and large, point by point was the only way to take last week’s match.
In the first game, neither team led by more than four at any venture, and they were tied at 18-18 before Colusa closed the game out on a 7-4 run.
The second and third games played out similarly. In game two, as Pierce and Colusa played to a 14-14 tie. The Bears rode a 11-5 run that saw Callie Muniz, Katie Williams, Halle Charter and Emily Ehrke hammer home kills home. A Pierce side-out put Muniz at the line with a 23-19 lead and kills from Williams and Charter sealed the 25-19 win. Game three was also knotted at 18-18, but it was Pierce that crept ahead this time and played their way to a 25-22 win.
In game four, Muniz’s attacking helped Pierce jump out to an early lead and maintain it. Muniz had a total of 20 kills in the match – a team-high. She scored 10 of those kills in the fourth game, and her final one sealed the 25-19 win for the Bears.
In addition to her 20 kills, Muniz led the Bears with three blocks. Ehrke and Williams had 14 and 10 kills in the match, respectively. On the other side of the court, Colusa’s attack relied heavily on Hannah Taylor (17 kills), as well as Jessica Hickel (12 kills) and Gillian Ayala. The setters for both teams – Annie Lay for Colusa and Sierra Murphy for Pierce – were dialed in, and put up big assist numbers with 42 apiece. That number was a season-high for Murphy. Betsy Myers was solid for Pierce on defense and in serve reception, as was Abby Huskey for Colusa. ■