Despite a first-rate effort, especially at the end of the match, the Davis High boys volleyball team was unable to come away with victory against an experienced Pioneer squad.
Though the Blue Devils defeated the Patriots last week for their first win of a season almost as young as the team, they bowed out in three consecutive games on Thursday at home, 25-18, 25-19, 30-28.
“No team is going to be an easy match for us. We’ve got to fight for every point, and be on our game all the time,” admitted first-year DHS coach Julie Crawford. “We’ve got to reduce our unforced errors; it’s something I tell our team all the team. We have to cut down on unnecessary mistakes.”
What led to the Devils’ demise was flashes of inconsistency, little spurts where the Patriots were allowed to rack up points unopposed. Even though Davis often managed to claw back into contention, it was clear from the get-go that they would spend the match playing catch-up.
The Blue Devils were streaky starting in the first game, when they collapsed late after staying close throughout the bout. DHS was unable to block Pioneer’s aggressive spikes, something Crawford found more understandable than some of her squad’s other errors.
“We’ve been playing a lot (of games), so we haven’t had a lot of time of practice. I haven’t trained the team how to block yet, so they’re just jumping with their arms in the air,” Crawford said. “I have really high expectations for the team, but I’ve found myself trying to teach things during games that we should be working on in practice.”
After coming out strong in the second set, Davis allowed the Patriots to break off separate runs of 5-0 and 8-2. DHS was able to keep close thanks to the hustle of Mike Johnson and Peter Kesling, who often ranged out of bounds to knock back errant passes.
PHS almost pulled away with a 6-1 spurt in the third game, but the Blue Devils crept back thanks to the hard-nosed defense of senior Sherman McFarland and sophomore Isaac Contreras. Then, successful strikes from Kesling and Sam Manderfield helped Davis established a 24-23 lead — one point from winning the game.
The Patriots, however, forced a deuce on the following play and after the two sides traded leads, the Devils lofted the ball just out of bounds. The momentum had shifted, and the game ended on the next play when a Pioneer drive landed in no-man’s-land in the middle of the court.
After playing well for most of the match, DHS senior setter Derrick Coronado limped off the court after the unsettling loss. Coronado — who was named the football team’s Special Teams Player of the Year last fall and is being counted on by Crawford to be a leader — seemed to have injured the big toe on his right foot.
Crawford and Company now have their eyes on a St. Patrick’s Day rubber match against Pioneer. Playing that contest in the Patriots’ gym, the Blue Devils hope the luck of the Irish will be on their side.
— Reach Bruce Egel at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com