Battle of the Border

Live Oak’s Katarina Cinkova digs out a serve for a return.

Against league rival Live Oak Tuesday, the Gilroy volleyball
team had just four service errors and 11 hitting errors.
Unfortunately, those low numbers still weren’t enough to get the
Mustangs past the Acorns.
Gilroy – Against league rival Live Oak Tuesday, the Gilroy volleyball team had just four service errors and 11 hitting errors.

Unfortunately, those low numbers still weren’t enough to get the Mustangs past the Acorns.

Live Oak (18-10, 5-3) defeated Gilroy (6-16, 2-6) on the Mustangs’ own court 25-22, 25-21, 25-20 in a tight match that saw very little separating the play of both teams.

“We had a pretty good chance there in the second game. We kept the upswing going,” said Gilroy head coach Sue Grogan.

But that second game comeback was interrupted when senior captain and setter Katherine Hussey went down holding her right ankle in pain with her team up 18-16. Hussey was carried off the court and didn’t return.

“It didn’t look good,” said Grogan, who believes there is a good chance the senior might be lost for the rest of the season, which ends in a little over two weeks.

Despite losing Hussey, the ‘Stangs kept up the fight in the second game with Jennifer Smith taking over the setting duties all the way around the rotation.

“That was the worst for me (when Hussey got hurt) because in practice, I never work on running a 5-1 (rotation),” Smith said. “We did pretty good with me not knowing what to do.”

On top of that, Smith had a bone bruise on her right hand.

“I could hardly move it,” she said.

In the first game, Live Oak, who solidly beat the Mustangs in the first meeting between the two squads last month, never took more than a two point lead the entire way. A Live Oak missed serve and a big solo block for kill from Mustang middle Vanessa Wilkins knotted the game at 22.

But the Acorns took a 24-22 lead after a kill by Laura Dudek and a service ace by Talia Reyes-Ortiz. Gilroy called a timeout to regroup and set up Wilkins on the following play, but her kill sailed long and Live Oak took the first game.

After Hussey’s injury in the second game, Gilroy rebounded to take a 21-19 lead. But outside Jessica Groppe’s kill for that 21st point was the last score the Mustangs would see as Live Oak went on to win 25-21.

Grogan was pleased to see her team continue to fight even after Hussey went down.

“I was really happy to see them not just give up,” Grogan said.

In the third game, Gilroy was down 13-12. But then the ‘Stangs missed a serve and Live Oak rattled off two kills and a block for a kill. That gave the Acorns a 17-12 lead which Gilroy couldn’t erase.

Despite the loss, the Mustangs kept errors to a minimum and played one of their best defensive games of the season.

“All my hitters were playing smart,” Smith said. “And we covered (the hitters) so much this game.”

Groppe led the Mustangs in kills with six. Hussey (8 assists), Kayla Meazell (2 aces) and Wilkins (2 down blocks) each had four kills. Isabelle Szucs, who is just returning from injury, had two kills.

Gilroy plays Santa Teresa next at home Thursday at 6:30pm.

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