Enterprise staff writer
It was close all the way, but Davis High just couldnÕt get over the hump in losing a girls volleyball match to visiting Lodi on Thursday.
ÒWe are making mistakes we shouldnÕt be making,Ó Blue Devil head coach Leigh Whitmire explained after dropping a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 22-52, 25-21) decision. ÒAnd what makes me mad it that you have somebody that can do something … and they donÕt.Ó
On the bright side, DHS played the Flames (8-3) tough in each game. From the Needs to Improve Dept., the Devils once again foundered at the net and down the stretch.
In the first game, kills by Angelina Leigh and Rachael Devries gave DHS a 6-2 lead. When Nikki PersingerÕs put-away made it 8-5, the Blue Devils looked strong.
But back came Lodi. Energized by outside hitter Jessica Malcolm, the Flames got hot. When the smoke cleared, MalcolmÕs monster kills had her San Joaquin Athletic Association teammates on top, 16-15.
Tied at 18-18, the localsÕ bug-a-boo raised its now-ugly head Ñ Davis struggled at the end.
LodiÕs Jill Burkhard scored three straight points, followed by an unforced error and a net violation.
PersingerÕs set for a Devries score stopped a five-point FlamesÕ run. Back came DHS when Lodi mishit a crush shot, Leigh stuffed Kaitlin Drake twice at the net and libero Jordan Kelley was unreal on defense.
Hanging by a thread, the Blue Devils were back in at 24-22.
At that point, LHS coach Kirsta Breneton called time and apparently told her charges it would be nice to score the final point. They didnÕt need to … an unforced Davis error ended the first match.
In the next set, the Devils got down 12-5 and 16-9, yet pulled themselves from the abyss again.
Cassie Varland and Kelley played brilliantly on defense, while kills from Angie Rinaldi, Julia Rodman and some nifty serves by Nicole Desideri rallied the Devils. When RodmanÕs kill Ñ off a Varland save Ñ got DHS within one (23-22), hope sprung, then faded.
Two unforced errors ended that match, 25-23.
In the third set, it looked for a moment that Davis had had enough. Down 6-1, Malcolm was smacking kill rockets, Drake had four service points and the locals were flagging at the net.
Suddenly, an unforced Lodi error gave Varland the serve. When the senior was done, the Blue Devils tied things at six. Varland had two aces and Persinger set Devries for a nice dink point.
The two teams then went into a five-minute period of poor play before Varland again started pushing Lodi into corners. Two more kills for the attacker Ñ and a nice save that resulted in a Flames double touch Ñ gave DHS a 17-13 lead.
Persinger set Rodman for a late kill and twice Kelley dug Malcolm blasts, turning away Lodi.
When the game ended, the Devils had won, 25-22.
In the final set, Davis trailed most of the way, but Desideri had a hot serving hand late and Persinger, Kelley and Varland made point-saving digs to close things to 24-21 before the Blue DevilsÕ ninth life was exhausted on a serve out of bounds.
ÒI thought Jordan Kelley played great,Ó Whitmire said, also sending praise the way of Rinaldi and Varland.
The problem for Davis, which is 3-6 on the season?
Whitmire pointed to her head: ÒI think right now, itÕs up here.Ó
Next, the Blue Devils will host Yuba City on Wednesday. Game time is 6 p.m. in The Cage (south gym).
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story or visit The Davis Enterprise at www.davisenterprise.com