As with photosynthesis, in which a plant collects energy from the sun, the Davis High girls volleyball team draws from a few shining moments and an invigorated crowd.
But there was something amiss from that process as the Blue Devils were defeated by Roseville’s Tigers, 25-21, 11-25, 23-25, 26-28, at The Cage on Thursday night.
“My team feeds off of the gym’s energy, and we didn’t create that atmosphere for ourselves (Thursday),” said DHS coach Julie Crawford. “We just lacked our usual fire.”
The Devils (12-8) started with a different vibe, taking the court with resolve enough to combat Roseville’s height. And there wasn’t anything missing on Davis’ offensive front either.
That’s because they had Zoe Hunt-Murray, who totaled 16 kills, and Maya Gilardi, who wasn’t far behind with 12. Together, the Blue Devils spiked their way to a victory in Game 1.
But the next set found the locals having trouble with getting the ball back over the net, sending them to an early 7-0 deficit.
DHS never fully recovered, even after Crawford called a timeout to give her squad a pep talk. Rally after rally ended out of their favor and eventually Roseville has an easy Game 2 win.
The next set began on a higher note, as Hunt-Murray served up three consecutive aces to the audible glee of her teammates and Devil fans.
Just as Davis built momentum for itself, serving errors shifted it astray. The Blue Devils committed five of the violations, spoiling hopes of a Game 3 advantage.
No more than two points ever separated the two squads for most of that third set, but the RHS attackers found holes when they needed it to solidify their 25-23 win.
The locals leaned on the combined power of Hunt-Murray and Gilardi to keep the ball out of Tiger reach in the fourth game, as DHS took a quick 5-1 lead.
But with Roseville’s 6-foot-tall Abby Jensen tallying six kills in that final set alone, it was not long before the Devils were once more in a stalemate.
Though Mackenzie Harrison slowed the Tigers with her 13 total digs, Jensen’s shots came down with such thundering ferocity that most went unanswered.
A nail-biting battle to the finish — the game was tied at 25-25 and then 26-26 — eventually came to a conclusion with two successive kills by Jensen.
“She was a powerhouse hitter,” Crawford said. “And she can swing over the block, so we had to try and figure out ways to adjust; like jumping later.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to come out with the win. But it was a good, competitive match, and that’s what we wanted before league starts.”
DHS now gets a week off before opening Delta Valley Conference play on Thursday at The Cage, when Franklin comes knocking at 6 p.m.
— Reach Brett Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8052. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterBrett. View galleries and purchase prints of Blue Devil sports photos at http://davisenterprise.zenfolio.com.