After losing a grueling five-set match up to San Juan in their region opener on Tuesday, Sept. 17, the Grand County volleyball team swept Wasatch Academy 3-0 on Saturday, Sept. 21 for its first win since the opening weekend of the season, snapping a five-match losing streak.
In the first set, Grand and Wasatch Academy traded points back and forth before junior Brook Schultz got the serve and Grand pulled away, racing to a 22-13 advantage before relinquishing the serve to the Tigers. The Lady Devils won the set 25-17.
In the second set, Wasatch Academy seized the momentum early on, blocking effectively in the front to charge to a 10-2 lead. The Lady Devils clawed back to 11-15 before Wasatch Academy called timeout in an effort to snuff out the Grand rally. The Lady Devils, however, continued to battle back and forced the Tigers to burn their second timeout of the set after taking the lead 22-21. Grand extended the lead to 24-21 before the Tigers fought back with two points. Sophomore Sydney Lema noticed a kill on the next point to claim the set for Grand 25-23.
The third set belonged entirely to Grand as the Lady Devils mounted a 7-1 lead early on, extended it to 14-5 before a Tiger timeout and finished it 25-12.
Senior Shailee Croasmun, said Grand established goals going into the third set of mounting leads of 10-3 and 20-8, both of which they eclipsed. She said poor communication and players trying to do too much has plagued the Lady Devils during their early-season struggles.
“We’re working better as a team,” Croasmun said. “We do better when we set goals and everyone does their own job.”
Hren named Croasmun the player of the game based on her all-around performance of 7 service points, 3 of which came on aces, 7 digs and 5 kills. She also received nine Tiger serves, the most of any Lady Devil
“Shailee stepped up today,” Hren said. “We need to keep the battle going for the other hitter spot.”
Sophomore Sydney Lema led Grand in kills with 13 and digs with 12. Schultz served for 15 points and added 9 assissts and 9 digs. Senior Jessica Valdes led the Lady Devils with 11 assists and fellow senior Tiffanie Whipple added 10 digs.
Hren said the Lady Devils have begun setting goals, such as the ones established in the decisive third set Saturday, and holding themselves accountable for reaching the goals. For example, Hren said hitters are allowed two errors in every seven attempts so if they’ve already air-mailed two hits into the bleachers, they’ll be more careful to keep the ball in play. Croasmun also said Grand has begun doing a mess-up cheer to keep their spirits up when the ball isn’t falling in their favor so they don’t unravel. Saturday’s cheer was ‘Devils’ followed by two claps, she said.
In Tuesday’s region opener, Grand won the first set 28-26 before losing the second and third sets 26-24 and 25-20. They forced a fifth set by claiming the fourth 25-21, but fell short in the final frame 15-9.
Junior Kasey Betts was a force in the game, Hren said, as she notched 19 blocks, 15 digs and 8 kills. Junior Alexis Risenhoover added 16 blocks and Lema added 12 in the back-and-forth matchup. Whipple led the Lady Devils defensively with 27 digs and junior Cammy Beeman tallied 9 kills.
Hren said she was happy was the win Saturday, although it was one they were expected to get because Wasatch Academy is still in the building process, and they should be able to carry some momentum forward and build on it going forward. Grand was scheduled to play host to Emery on Tuesday, Sept. 24 in their final home game for more than a month. They’re scheduled to begin their six-game road trip against North Sevier at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26.