By Liisa London Mecham
Thursday September 29, Grantsville hosted Morgan, the number one team in Region 13, and played the Trojans tough but ultimately lost the match 3-1 (25-21, 17-25, 13-25, 25-27).
In a repeat of their first matchup with the Trojans, the Cowboys came out strong and took the first set and fell in the second game before coming back to play a tight fourth match, almost pushing Morgan to five sets.
Throughout the night, Grantsville served strongly, recording 14 aces to the Trojans’ four. Junior Aliah Fernandez led all servers with six aces with junior Eliza Smith recording three and senior setter Kaitlyn Nordgren adding two. Although their overall serving percentage was down (84.4%), the power and placement of the Cowboys’ serves helped lead to their victory in game one and a close set in game four.
The first game was never separated by more than four points. The Cowboys jumped out to a 4-2 lead and played well through several ties. Fernandez and sophomore Brooklyn Berrett sealed the win at the end with two kills apiece to prevail 25-21.
In the second game, Morgan took a 0-5 lead on five kills by junior middle blocker Alyvia Jaffa before a kill by Fernandez put the Cowboys on the board. Smith’s three aces in a row brought Grantsville within two at 9-11, but the Trojans pulled away again and took the set 17-25.
After falling 13-25 in the third game, Grantsville came out with a lot of fight in the fourth game. Up 23-17 at the end of the set, the Cowboys looked poised to take the match into a fifth game, but the Trojans rallied and took the set 25-27.
Fernandez recorded 11 kills followed by senior Emily Ware with eight and Berrett with seven. Nordgren facilitated all of the kills with 27 assists. Ware topped the blocking charts with three with senior Brylee Castagno tallying two. Sophomore libero Avery Allred and Berrett led the defensive stats with 27 and 25 serve receives and 16 and 12 digs respectively.
Coach Kelbey Fisher commented, “We had a heartbreaker of a loss but I’m proud of the way the players changed their focus and played more for each other after the third set. We’ve done so well starting out games this year, and will continue to learn how we can do better after the first set. Confidence is growing in these games with top teams, whether the game ends with a win or loss. It is helping us get to the right stage to finish the season.”
Grantsville played at South Summit on Tuesday and will travel to Richfield for a tournament this weekend. They will face Ogden at home on October 11 for Senior Night before wrapping up their season Tuesday, October 18 at Ben Lomond.