The young Englewood High School volleyball team battled hard but lost to Vista Peak 3-1 in the Oct. 26 match that closed out the regular season for the Pirates.
“I am proud of how they played tonight,” Englewood coach Kristal Kostiew said after the game. “In the middle of the season we were struggling to get three hits on the ball to get it across the net. But the girls found the passion and desire I knew they had as individuals and as a team and, tonight, they played their best match of the season.”
Kostiew said the future of the Pirate program looks good.
“We will graduate three seniors so we should have a strong foundation of players with varsity experience back next year,” she said. “We also had a good junior varsity team plus a C team and a D team. The majority of our players are freshmen and sophomores, so I am excited by our potential to become a strong, competitive volleyball team and program.”
The way the Pirates played Oct. 26 against Vista Peak didn’t reflect the fact that Englewood came into the match with a 3-19 record.
The Bison had to battle to score each point. Pirate players went high at the net to reject Vista Peak hits and, on occasion, dove to the floor to hit the ball and keep it in play.
A team has to win three games to win a best-of-five-game volleyball match. Vista Peak won the first game 25-20 and won the second game, 25-16.
The third game belonged to the Pirates. They were up early 17-8, but Vista Peak battled back to make the score 17-14.
With Reighan Kirklin serving, the Pirates scored four straight points. The Bison got close again but Englewood kept battling. With the score 23-19, Julie Kline served for Englewood. She delivered an ace, a serve that hits the floor untouched, to make it game point. The next serve was returned, and the Pirates sent it back across the net. When the Bison attempted to spike it, two Englewood players blocked the hit to the floor on the Vista Peak side of the net to give the Pirates the win, 25-19.
Vista Peak regrouped and won the deciding game 25-14 to win the match.
“Today was the first game we have won in a while,” the coach said after the game. “I have been telling the girls I knew they had the talent and mental strength to win games. Today’s win proved it. It was a big step for our team.”
Senior Lindsey McNorton wiped away a tear as she talked about the season.
“This season has been a battle because we were a young team and had so much to learn about playing volleyball,” McNorton, the defensive specialist, said. “We have made major improvements. For example, we were making plays and making blocks we didn’t know how to do three weeks ago.”
She smiled and said the game win was important to all Pirate players. She said it raised the morale and confidence of everyone on the team.
“Volleyball is my game, it is where my heart is,” she said. “I have played here for four years and it is sad to know time on the high school court is over. I’ll play soccer in the spring but I’ll still be looking to continue to play volleyball.”