“They dug a lot of balls,” said Deer Valley Coach Lou Panzella. “I thought they played really well, and made us not look so good at times. We had more unforced errors than we’d like to have; we missed a lot of serves. But maybe some of that was because we were forced to try to serve tougher to score points. I thought Freedom did a really good job tonight. I thought they played really well. Defensively they just frustrated us. Our (hitters) took some really good swings and the ball just kept coming back. So good for Freedom; bad for us. Good job by them.”
Freedom Coach Erin Smedley said, “I’m really happy with how my girls played. Deer Valley is obviously the top team in the area, not to mention our league. And I’m just happy we hung with them the first two games. We played great – really happy.”
All three games were fairly close. Freedom dropped one point per game as the match ensued, losing 25-21, 25-20 and 25-19. For one brief, shining moment the Falcons were up 9-8 in the second game before the Wolverines took command on kills by Sandra Foster and Kara Stark and strong serving by Tasia Kwa, who takes four running steps, tosses the ball high and leaps in the air to smash it over the net.
Stark ended up with a team-high 11 kills and also notched 14 digs. Kwa wound up with 15 service points, six aces, 10 kills and 16 digs. Foster scored seven kills and made 11 digs. Helping make all of those kills possible was Keesh Tolentino’s 34 assists.
The win kept Deer Valley perfect at 8-0 in league play and 11-6 overall. The Wolverines, who won the league title last year, look like they’re on course to repeat. But Panzella, while acknowledging it’s been a very good season so far, isn’t counting his kills before they’re smashed. “We’ve got a lot of play to go yet,” he said.
Smedley wasn’t sure of her league record, but thought it might be 4-8 after the Deer Valley loss. “I do wish we were winning more games, especially the close ones,” she said. “I’m happy that we’re starting to take more teams to four than we have in the past. So we are winning more games. We took a game off Heritage; we took a game off Liberty both times we played them – things we haven’t done in the past.
“So we are definitely improving as a team on the whole, which I’m definitely happy to see. I just hope that that plays out true for the future and we can continue to improve and eventually win in five. I think it would be a huge plus.”