After narrowly losing the first game, the Mountain View boys volleyball team battled back to win the next three, defeating Mesa 3-1.
The Toros seemed to pick up momentum after the close loss, overcoming the Jackrabbits 24-26, 25-20, 25-16 and 25-22 on Tuesday.
Mountain View (11-4 overall, 2-0 East Valley Region) maintained the lead in most of the next three games, only falling behind by three points in the third set. Coach Kevin Powell said the team needed to focus more on receiving in order to win the game.
“The pass needed to be a little bit better so we could have some more options running our offense,” he said.
Middle blocker Cade Wilfert led the team with 12 kills followed by outside hitter Collin Maughan with 10, but it was opposite Brigham Taylor that stood out to Powell.
“He really brings a lot when we can run across the whole net,” Powell said. “So, I thought he served well, he hit well, and it was a really good night for him.”
Taylor had one ace, four kills and only one error.
Powell said that in order to defeat Mesa, the team needed to keep up its energy to secure the win.
“We picked up our passing really well in the second set, and that helped a lot with our hitting,” he said. “Our defense was really good as well.”
The Toros had a combined 51 kills, 56 digs and eight aces against the Jackrabbits.
Mesa (6-9, 0-1) did not let up easily, though. In the fourth set, the Jackrabbits were down 24-19 but scored three in a row before a game-winning kill by Maughan.
Mesa managed 33 kills, four aces and eight blocks, but coach Raymond Lewis said his team didn’t play assertively in sets two and three.
“I think we were really prepared to start the game, and then once they made a couple of adjustments, we didn’t really know how to react,” he said.
Opposite Kalani Brubaker led the Jackrabbits with 11 kills and set up a good block, shutting down the Toros multiple times.
Between the third and fourth sets, Lewis took his team outside to refocus them.
“We didn’t play confidently in sets two and three. I knew that we had to take some time alone as a team away from the gym, away from the environment and just reset our mindset to be ready to battle in the fourth set,” he said.
Even though the game was at Mesa, the Mountain View crowd had a huge impact on the momentum of the game.
The Mountain View JV team stuck around to cheer on their varsity team. They sang loudly with the music, stomped the bleachers to distract servers and cheered wildly when their team scored.
This is something Powell prides himself in.
“We really put an emphasis this year on our team culture and what we want our team to look like and what we want our team to feel like,” he said. “We want to be excited to play every day, and these guys help a lot.”
– Goodman is a sports journalism student at Arizona State.