In a match that was decided by a narrow margin in the first two games, San Luis Obispo High’s girls volleyball team edged Atascadero both times.
Then with the momentum on their side, the Tigers (10-3, 2-0 PAC 7 League) closed out the Greyhounds (10-5, 0-1) with a 3-1 victory at home, winning 26-24, 30-28, 23-25, 25-22 Tuesday.
San Luis Obispo sophomore Holland Boege had a match-high 20 kills and four aces, while Molly Maguire logged 12 kills. Anna Pedersen tallied 10 kills.
“We definitely benefited from winning those first two games,” Maguire said. “As a team, we’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the year. Every match in league will be tough.”
The Tigers got big points late in the first set from Boege, a 6-foot outside hitter, who served an ace to make it 24-24 in the first set. She followed with a kill to bring the score to 25-24, and then another ace to make it 26-24.
Atascadero battled behind the powerful striking of Kendall Featherstone, who had 14 kills and 15 digs.
Chandler Haskell and Maren Cracknell each had eight kills for Atascadero.
“I’m disappointed that we lost, but I’m not disappointed with how we played,” Atascadero coach Trent Lunceford said. “We were right there the whole way. We just made some mistakes at inopportune times.”
Atascadero was ahead 24-23 in the second set, but missed a serve and went on to lose that one in a see-saw battle, 30-28.
But the Greyhounds didn’t buckle in the third set, holding their own on long rallies and winning the game helped by a 6-0 lead to start the set on the serve of Hannah Reece.
But the Tigers’ passing and setting was particularly effective. Casey Frost logged 48 assists and distributed the ball well to her teammates, including freshman Kaitlyn Kimball, who had eight assists to join the Tigers’ assault at the net.
Calli Hamari had 15 digs and rattled off five points on her serve, including two aces, to bring her team back from a 19-15 deficit to a 20-19 edge in the second set.
“They played tough and did a good job in the first two sets,” Tigers coach Manny Carter said. “We did a pretty good job of being mentally tough, but we can always do better. In the third set, we were up 23-22 and we allowed them to come back and win. We could have finished them out there.”
Carter said Boege has steadily improved as an outside hitter.
“She was on varsity as a freshman last year, and that experience helped,” Carter said. “I think she’s stepping into the role of becoming one of the better hitters in the league.”
At times, both squads missed some key serves, but the quality of play throughout the match was high as players scrambled for loose balls off rafters in the gym and sacrificed their bodies for lunges on digs.
But Lunceford said he’d change nothing his team did strategically the next time they meet.
“We were right there the whole time,” he said. “It was just a few points here or there. We allowed them to make a few runs, but overall, I’m pleased with our play.”