It was a tough week for the Pirate volleyball team as Pagosa dropped three matches prior to heading into the Intermountain League schedule.
The first loss came at Dolores on Sept. 17. The Bears won the match 25-16, 25-23, 25-20. The major factor in the match? Poor serving by the Pirates.
“We missed so many serves,” said Coach Connie O’Donnell. “It felt like we missed every other one, and it was frustrating. Our blocking was good, but you can’t hand the ball over and be inconsistent in your hitting. We didn’t play our best and it’s hard to win when you don’t give it your all.”
The team traveled to Aztec, N.M., the next day and lost 13-25, 17-25, 25-21, 22-25.
Though the Aztec match went into the loss column, Pagosa had a much worthier effort south of the state line.
“We played a lot better,” said the coach. “We served better and did a good job at the net.”
Pagosa had a head of steam coming off the win in the third game and carried it into the fourth game of the match, building a substantial lead. Then, the train went off the rails.
“We came out of that third game and had a ten-point lead,” said O’Donnell. “Aztec called a timeout and when we went back on the court, we were a different team. We couldn’t get back on track. It was a huge dive in momentum that we couldn’t fix.”
Piedra Vista, a northern New Mexico powerhouse visited Pagosa Tuesday and the Pirates gave the visitors a run for their money before losing 25-21, 18-25, 13-25, 22-25.
“We came out strong,” said the coach. “We served them off the court that first game. We missed just one serve and had a lot of aces. Breezy Bryant served the first four points and got us the lead right away. We were really aggressive in that first game.”
The serving that played a major role in the victory in the first game did a quick turnaround and went cold in game two, with missed serves handing points to the Panthers.
Piedra Vista’s attack from the middle began to click as well, and Pirate blocking could not negate the change.
In the fourth game, however, Pagosa showed the character that could serve the team well as league play begins. Down by 12 points, the Pirates stormed back to catch Piedra Vista, then fought to the end of the game.
“I was really proud of our players,” said O’Donnell. “They got out of a deep hole and played hard to the last point.”
Brinda Wallis led the way on offense for Pagosa, with eight kills. Magan Kraetsch and Katie Armbrecht each scored with seven kills. Bryant put up eight assists during the match and served seven aces. Brooklynn DuCharme was strong in the back court, with nine digs.
Armbrecht had four solo blocks; Gabby Pajak had three blocks and Wallis two.
With all but one non-league match completed, Pagosa now dives into Intermountain League play.
Alamosa joins the league this season, and the Mean Moose visit Pagosa today. Matches start with C Team action at 4 p.m.
Saturday, the Pirates travel to La Jara for the first of two league matches against Centauri.
Tuesday, Sept. 28, Bayfield, last year’s league champs and state tourney participants, arrive at the PSHS gym for the first of two matches during the regular season. Action again begins at 4 p.m.
“I am excited to begin league play,” said O’Donnell. “There’s more reason to win. It’s all about rivalries and the playoffs. You know the schools and you know many of the players. Now we’ve practiced, and it’s time to get down to business.”