by Brian McCabe
Mail News Editor
The Lady Spartans started off strong against James Irwin Tuesday at their home volleyball court, but Salida just couldn’t overcome the Lady Jaguars, losing in four 25-19, 22-25, 12- 25, 19-25.
The match, a league game, puts the Lady Spartans back 4-9, and 1-7 in league, while the Lady Jaguars jump up to 9-4 overall and 4-3 in league.
The Lady Spartans controlled most of the first set, taking the lead out to 14-9, before James Irwin rallied back, scoring six unanswered points to tie it up 15-15.
Salida didn’t let it rattle them, however, breaking the tie and retaking the lead to win 25-19.
“We played super good in the first match, with lots of energy,” coach Haley Huffman said. “Playing at home during homecoming really helped.”
Salida took the lead early in the second set, until James Irwin came back and tied it up 6-6. The Lady Jaguars controlled the game, leading 9-12, before Salida rallied to tie it up 14-14.
James Irwin started to pull ahead, and Salida struggled to keep up, but just couldn’t find a way to push it over the top, losing the second set 22-25.
“We played well in the second,” Huffman said. “Some of our serves weren’t so hot, and we were beginning to lag. Then we lost it in the third.”
Salida fell behind quickly in the third set and was never able to tie it up, losing 12-25.
“We got frustrated,” Huffman said. “First the girls get frustrated with themselves, then with each other. We have a lot of different levels and ages out there playing. We are maturing as a team, but this is really a growing year.
“I pulled the girls aside after the third set and told them, ‘Let’s get back to how we play,’ and I think that helped.”
Salida and James Irwin traded the lead four times during the fourth set, tieing it up three times, before the Lady Jaguars started to pull away.
The Lady Spartans started to rally towards the end, but were never able to catch up, losing 19-25.
Huffman named junior Sage Lau player of the game for playing strong at the net.
“James Irwin has a strong girl in the middle, so before the game I told her and (sophomore) Caitlyn (Smith) to play tough, and they really stuck it out. I keep telling our girls that they can beat about half the teams in our league if they play to their potential.”
The junior varsity and the C teams both won in three.
The Lady Spartans will hit the road Thursday, playing Colorado Springs Christian School.
“They are a strong team, every year,” Huffman said.