Caitlyn Smith spikes a ball

Salida’s Caitlyn Smith spikes a ball Saturday against the Vanguard School. The Lady Spartans played Vanguard tight but were unable to finish on top.

The Salida girls’ volleyball team was neck and neck with the Vanguard School for most of their contest on Saturday. Vanguard, however, was able to escape with the win and hand Salida its fifth straight loss, taking the match three sets to one, 25-19, 15-25, 25-22 and 25-22.

At times the Lady Spartans were in control of the match. Other times, Vanguard would get a little momentum going, and Salida would have a hard time working together to stop the Lady Coursers. The Lady Spartans have proved they can play, they just need to play better together.

“We’ve got to work on working together,” said Salida Head Coach Haley Huffman. “They get frustrated with themselves, and it leads to them not being cohesive.”

Macy Mazzeo helped Salida take a 9-6 lead in the first set with a couple kills and a service ace.

“Macy stepped up as a leader and had quite a few kills,” Huffman said. “She was super loud, her energy was really good and was really smart at the net.”

Vanguard, however, scored the next seven points and held on to win the set.

In the second set, Salida jumped out to a 5-0 lead with Jamison Batinich serving. Raley Patch scored with a couple spikes to keep Salida in front, 9-4. Later, with Batinich serving again, the senior hit one ace and two other balls that Vanguard couldn’t return, putting Salida up 19-9.

“Jamison served really good tonight,” the coach said.

Smith eventually spiked home the game winner for Salida.

With the match tied 1-1, the teams went to a pivotal third set and were tied six times. Sage Lau, Patch and Smith all had some spikes to the floor, keeping the set level at 11-11. Vanguard then pulled away, 18-13, but Salida went on a run to catch them at 21. With the score tied 22-22, however, Vanguard scored the last three points to take the set.

The fourth set was another close one, with the score tied 11 times. Isabella Chambers, Mazzeo and Patch helped Salida take a 4-1 lead.

Chambers was filling in for senior Captain Madie Patch, who was sick and missed school most of the week.

“Isabella stepped up, played smart and her passing was good,” Huffman said. “Hopefully we’ll have (Patch) back next week.”

Vanguard then scored four points in a row to go up 5-4. Salida came back to tie the set at 9-9 and later took a 13-11 lead. The set was then tied at 17-17, 18-18, 19-19 and 21-21. Vanguard, however, was able to finish the set on top to take the match and get to .500 overall with a 6-6, 3-4 3A Tri-Peaks record.

Salida (4-8, 1-6) will play twice this week.

On Tuesday, the Lady Spartans will host James Irwin (8-4, 3-3) for its homecoming contest; the varsity game should start around 6:30 p.m.

Salida will also travel to Colorado Springs Christian on Thursday to take on the league-leading Lady Lions (14-1, 7-0).