LONGMONT — “Good evening Holy Family Tigers, this is your wake up call.”
The Mead Mavericks delivered the message loud and clear on Tuesday night, with a decisive 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-13, 25-17) victory over the Tigers in a battle of top ten Class 4A teams.
“We are continuously growing and the strides we have made from the beginning of the season have been big,” said head coach Jenna Gallas, whose ninth-ranked team dropped to 4-1 overall and 3-1 inside the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference. “But we need to stay together that much more, and practice is key.”
The Tigers will get plenty of that the remainder of the Spring Break week, after the rest of the schedule was wiped out by opposing team in quarantine. Theoretically they will play again next Tuesday night on the road at Longmont.
Against the No. 6 Mavericks, Holy Family faced likely the best hitting team it will face all season. Mead’s trio of big hitters — Quincy Coyle, Morgan Munro and Kenzie Morton — hadn’t played a game since March 23 (also because of quarantine) and were eager to take out their frustrations on somebody then themselves at practice. They found every single hole in the Holy Family defense and the aforementioned big hitters didn’t miss.
“When you continuously play matches, you learn a lot of things to fix, but you don’t necessarily have time to fix them,” Gallas said. “Our team is a bunch of fighters. We have tendency to come out a little slow, but we never say end.”
And after going down 1-0, Holy Family made the adjustments in the second game and tied things up against Mavericks. The Tigers played one of their best defensive sets of the season, getting big blocks up front from Kaitlin Owens, Kaley Roller, Alexandra Ward and Makenna Bertsch to slow down the Mavericks hitters. And when things did get through, junior libero Madison Forss dug everything that was hit her way.
“They have hitters everywhere and you can’t track one, because just when you do close down on one, the other will capitalize,” Gallas said. “(Madison) was phenomenal tonight, getting touches on just about everything and keeping us in situations where we could make plays on the ball.”
But as quickly as the momentum swung to the Tigers, a quick start to the third for Mead — which saw them jump out to a 9-2 lead — brought it right back to the Mavericks. Once again, Mead — which improved to 2-0 — found empty spots all over the court and didn’t necessarily overpower the Tigers as much as they did out think them for a 25-13 game three win.
Another quick start in the fourth game, 6-1, was all Mead needed to cruise to a 25-17 victory and close out the match.
“We are taking one game at a time and truly learning from each time we are out on the court together,” Gallas said. “Lessons are learned in wins and losses, but sometimes that loss catapult you to different levels that you didn’t know you had.”
MEAD 3, HOLY FAMILY 1
Holy Family (4-1, 3-1) 16 25 13 17 — 1
Mead (2-0, 2-0) 25 22 25 25 — 3