On the first point of the match things looked good as Emily Mesetz and Brooke Aiello teamed up for a solid double block in the middle. At 3-2 Jojo Harnish sent a great set to Rachel Cox for an opposite-side kill. Lisa Carrington got into the action with Harnish shooting a nifty low-set and Carrington letting it drift to her left hand for a well-placed power-dink. Harnish continued her great play with a strategic dump to make the score 6-5. At this point Amanda Jarquin began an outstanding service run that lasted for five straight Dons’ scores. In that 5-point run, Aiello put down a big kill at the outside but it was Jarquin’s serving that led to most of the scoring. Later, at 11-9, it was Jarquin’s excellent serve-receive that began a textbook play as Harnish took her pass and put up a tasty set that Aiello crushed down the line past the Miramonte double block. At 13-11 Cox pounded a line shot from the outside for what looked like a sure winner in the corner, but there was disagreement among the officials as to whether it was in. It was replayed and the Dons scored on an Aiello kill. As they say, the Volleyball Gods knew… The Dons were looking strong and had a good rally going to get some separation, featuring a big outside kill by Jarquin, Aiello serving an untouched ace to the corner at 15-11, and an eventual time-out by the Mats. Whatever was said in that time out worked as the Mats came out and turned things around. Despite two big hits by Jarquin (one was a great cut-shot to angle past the block) the Mats continued on a 14-5 run of their own and eventually won by a score of 20-25
Final Score Set 1: 20-25 Mats.
This set began just the same as the first as Jarquin and Cox went up on a double block and stuffed the Mats’ kill attempt. On the next point, it was Jarquin delivering a line kill from the outside on a great assist by Harnish. And much like the first set Carrington came in early and pounded down a point from the opposite post to make it 3-0. At 4-2 it was Molly Dalziel showing athleticism by reaching to get to a tight set down past the Mats’ block and Cox followed that with an ace at 5-2. The Dons were on a nice run at this point and it continued with Dalziel and Carrington on a double block of the Mats’ big-hitting Beryl Slezak. Harnish got to a tough serve-receive pass and put a bump set up to the back row for our own big-hitting Jarquin who crushed it to make the score 11-4. At 13-6 Harnish put up a great 1-set in the middle and Cox knew what to do with it as she slammed it down to the Mats’ floor. Three big hits were shown in the next run with Aiello at 15-7, and Dalziel at 19-8 and 21-9. The Dons were firmly in control of this set and with the score at 22-11 Ying Stroube showed a good eye in the back row as she let a Mats serve float by and go long by foot.
Final Score Set 2: 25-12 Dons.
So now it’s 1-1 in sets and the scoring in this third set begins with a few routine scores. But at 2-1 it was Dalziel starting the excitement with a big outside hit. This was followed by Carrington diving to save the ball, Harnish getting to her save and putting up a great set for Dalziel again to crush for a Dons score. Not to be outdone, Aiello dug into her own bag of tricks with a 1-hand desperation save to Harnish who then shot a tasty set to a ready-and-waiting Rachel Cox at the opposite side. Cox blasted it past the block to make it 4-1. At 5-2 Dalziel again showed a great presence of mind and body in the air as the deftly reached for a set that was very tight, put a hard angle on it to get it past the block, and still got plenty of pace on her spike. A similar sharp-angle shot was struck by Jarquin at 6-3, and at 7-3 Aiello displayed some great defense by digging up a booming hit by the Mats’ Beryl Slezak. That dig was hustled to by Harnish, whose set went up and was immediately pounded down by Dalziel. Harnish and Carrington got together again on that shoot set that Carrington let float across the front of her and pushes with her left hand. It’s deceptive as the block sets up on her right shoulder and the ball travels past it to her left side (and gets pushed down for a score). At 10-4 another 10-foot kill by Jarquin was followed by another back row kill by Dalziel at 11-5. This set felt like it was firmly in control by the Dons and the run of scoring continued with Aiello’s outside kill at 15-6 and Cox’s big solo block a 17-6. But then the Mats began a run of their own. They tallied up five unanswered points and it was Cox in the role of Stopper with a big middle kill at 18-11. At 19-13 it was Cox again with a nice touch-dump to the open Mats floor, but then the Mats began another rally. The score was getting closer and closer with each Mats point. Finally, with the score at 21-20 and the Mats on the brink of tying the game, it was Dalziel stepping up and putting down a big hit to make it 22-20. A point apiece ensued, then on our serve receive it was Stroube putting up a perfect pass to Harnish who in turn put up a great set to Carrington who in turn put down and awesome kill to make it 23-21. The Mats were putting up a solid fight and the Dons were answering. Cox then took a Harnish set past the double Mats block with a well-aimed push to the floor. Even with the score now 24-21 and game point at hand, it was still not time to relax and the crowd knew it. The tension for the Dons’ fans was evident, especially after the two big runs that the Mats had put together. The Mats made sure the tension was justified by smoking a big kill from the middle to make it 24-22. The Mats then served, a rally ensued and it was Cox who finally ended the rally and the set by hitting a great cut shot past the block to the Mats’ floor.
Final Score Set 3:25-22 Dons.
Okay. It’s two sets to one in favor of the Dons in the best of five format. But the Mats were not about to go quietly. Routine scoring for both sides started this set (with more of it going the Mats’ way) but at 4-7 it was Carrington bringing it from the middle on a great 1-set from Harnish. Jarquin followed with an ace, and then at 6-8 and 7-8 it was Dalziel with two aces in a row. The second one was impressive – a blistering, no-spin drive inches above the net. The Mats could not handle it. At 9-9 the defensive skills of co-captains Aiello and Carrington tied the score at 9-9 when they went up in tandem and snuffed out a Mats kill attempt. Acalanes was on a roll and it continued with Aiello going up solo on the Mats’ middle hitter and rejected her kill back down to the Mats floor. Then at 13-10 Aiello went on the offense again smoking a kill past the block and down the line from the outside. The Mats shot back, once again with Beryl Slezak going up high on her own solid solo block against the Dons. The Mats started to get on a roll and it continued far too long. They rolled off a run of 8-1 against the Dons and now the score stood at 14-18. It seemed the Dons couldn’t buy a point. Finally, a mis-play by the Mats ended the run and the Dons went back into action with Dalziel going on a hitting rampage. She had big scoring hits at 16-, 17-,18-, 19-, and 20-22. The crowd was loud and Harnish just kept feeding the super-hot Dalziel. The Mats eventually got the ball back and scored a couple of their own to make it set point at 20-24, but served out making it 21-24. When Jarquin took the ball to serve, the excitement level was way up there; she served and drilled an untouched ace. She served again at 22-24, a rally started up but ended with a Dons net violation. But what an exciting set!
Final Score Set 4: 22-25 Mats
So here it is – set 5 with each team owning two wins in this best of five match. The first big play goes to Aiello scoring a kill down the outside line to make it 1-1. Cox followed her up with a quickly-delivered kill on a beautiful 1-set from Harnish at 2-1. Then on the next point it was Cox again on the defense with a huge solo middle block that went straight to the Mats floor making it 3-1. Then it was Jarquin’s turn with a big opposite kill at 4-1. Building a lead in a final game to 15 is huge, and that’s just what was going on with the Dons. But the Mats fought back to 4-3 to make it close. At 5-3 it was Cox with a big middle kill and at 7-3 Dalziel came back into the offensive highlights with a scorching kill from the outside. Next point was Aiello hitting for a score from the back row on a great back row set from Harnish. Then the Mats took off on another big run getting the score to 8-7 Dons. Close scoring from then included a great Carrington block in the middle at 9-9 and a Jarquin ace on the next point. The Mats again ran the score up in a big way to take the lead at 10-12. Remember, this is a match-deciding set that only goes to 15. The excitement level was very high in the stands as both sides were cheering loudly. A rally at 10-12 ensued and on a Mats over-pass Carrington went up high in the middle and crushed it down to make it 11-12. Aiello followed that with a kill that was actually heading to the back wall but in the excitement it’s difficult to lay off a ball and the back row defender for the mats touched it. Now it’s knotted at 12-12. On the Dons’ serve, the rally came back over and Harnish put up a sweet 1-set in the middle. Carrington came flying in and mashed it past the Mats’ double block. Dons took the lead back at 13-12. Acalanes serves to the Mats, they put up a tough pass and the setter commits a double-hit violation. Now it’s 14-12 Dons. Molly Dalziel to serve at match point. She does not disappoint; she does not miss. She hammers a low line drive that barely clears the net and the Mats could not handle it. She gets the game-winning ace and the Dons take this highly exciting match.
Final Score Set 5: 15-12 Dons
Dons take the match 3 sets to 2.
Amanda Jarquin: 13 Kills 11 Digs 5 Aces
Molly Dalziel: 17 Kills 9 Digs 3 Aces
Brooke Aiello: 10 Kills 13 Digs 1 Ace
Rachel Cox: 10 Kills 6 Digs 3 Aces 4 Blocks
Jojo Harnish: 50 Assists