For moments during its home match against Pagosa Springs on Sept. 19, the Montezuma-Cortez School volleyball team played like a force to be reckoned with.
An inability generate consistent offense doomed the Panthers, however, during a 19-25, 22-25, 22-25, loss.
“We’ve got to work on our passing, and we have to have smarter hitting,” said M-CHS coach Dave Robinson. “If we can improve our hitting percentage and put some balls in, we’re so much better off.”
Among the highlights from the match was the play of senior Tyra Pinnecoose, whose ability to deliver scorching serves toward Pagosa Springs’ players put the Pirates on the defensive.
A run of six straight points with Pinnecoose serving allowed the Panthers to cut Pagosa’s lead in the second game from 24-16 to 24-22, before an unforced error by M-CHS ended the game.
“Serving is our first chance at offense and I try to be aggressive,” Pinnecoose said.
“I think it’s a really important part of volleyball since (good serving) can get the other team out of their style of play.”
Heading into the third set looking to change the momentum of the match, M-CHS took a 3-0 lead thanks in large part to three nice serves by senior Hanna Carver. An ace by freshman Amber Wood later in the game allowed M-CHS to take a 6-5 lead.
From that point forward, Wood’s defense shown bright as the freshman made several digs to keep M-CHS alive in the match. Among them was an amazing effort that saw Wood keep an errant pass alive with her left arm to help win a point and give M-CHS a 21-18 lead.
“I just try to stay on my toes and get every ball that I can,” Wood said. “I don’t like letting balls drop so I go for everything.”
Unfortunately for M-CHS, Wood’s effort during the third game was not enough to turn the tide as Pagosa Springs scored seven straight points to come from behind and take the final game.
Asked about his team’s effort after the match, Robinson said that he was pleased by his team’s ability to remain competitive, but disappointed in his team’s play during the first two games.
“The first few games, we were a little slow and flat and we didn’t’ seem to get after it real quick,” Robinson said. “I think we did play well with them though. Pagosa is a well-coached squad and it’s hard to find open holes.”
With their record now sitting at 3-6 overall and 1-3 in the Intermountain League, the Panthers will look to build momentum when they face off against Monte Vista on Sept. 23. The Saturday contest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.