It was a nail-biter out in Mesa as the Jackrabbits’ girls volleyball team defeated the Chandler Wolves 3-2 Tuesday night.
The match was truly a battle with each game going to the opposite team until ultimately, an ace from co-captain Roma McEvoy sealed the win for the Jackrabbits, 15-5, in the fifth set.
The star of the match was sophomore Quincy Cummard, who came alive in the final set with four kills and more than 10 in the match.
Coach Amy Strawn praised Cummard after the game. “We really leaned on her, she did a great job,” said Strawn.
The first set went back and forth as Mesa were leading comfortably before Chandler fought back and took it 25-27.
Co-captain Kate Hatch described coach’s message after the first set, saying that they needed to take it one point at a time and to come back stronger.
The team took their coach’s comments to heart, as they won the second set, 25-23, thanks to some beautiful plays by Hatch and freshman Jazlyn Jackson.
The third set put Mesa on the edge of defeat as they hung with the Wolves for the majority but conceded the set 19-25.
The fourth set was back and forth as number 15, Monet Whittier, was a constant terror at the net for the Jackrabbits. In the end, Mesa prevailed and evened up the set score 2-2.
At the start of the fifth set, it was anyone’s game as the score was 4-3 until Cummard and senior Brooklin Carter stepped up with two huge kills forcing Chandler to call a timeout. It was no use, as Mesa went on to allow only two more points thanks in large part to the work of Cummard.
In pivotal moments the captains are called upon to guide the team with coach Strawn delivering the same message. “Just hang in there,” said Strawn, who added, “we just try to pump each other up as much as we can”.
The fans for Mesa were in full spirits Tuesday night as the freshman wrestling coach Tallyn Rhoades makes it a priority for his boys to be in the stands cheering the girls on.
“We’ve kind of adopted the volleyball team so we come and we cheer them on and it’s a fun time,” said Rhoades. He later went into detail about the decline of school participation at sporting events and how it is a great bonding experience for not only the school but his team as well.
Additionally, coach Strawn appreciates the wrestling teams’ school spirit. “They’ve become our super fans,” said Strawn, “We love them”.
Looking ahead to their next game, one area the Jackrabbits need to improve on according to coach is blocking the outsides and opposites. “Just everyday we have to get better”.
For Kate Hatch it’s simple: getting back into the gym and working on serves.
The Jackrabbits improve to 7-12 on the season and are looking ahead to their next match on Sept.19 against Desert Ridge High School.
Amiliano Fragoso is a sports journalism student at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism covering Mesa High School athletics.