Volleyball Schedule

Thunder continue to roll in region

Sep. 19, 2013
Written by
Stephen Vincent
For The Spectrum & Daily News

HURRICANE — Using timely blocking and serving, Desert Hills swept Hurricane 25-17, 25-19, 25-21 Wednesday night in a battle of Region 9’s unbeaten volleyball teams.

In the third game, the Thunder used a big service turn by Sammy Loe and the effective blocking of Blair Bliss and Lauren Kamalu, to go on a 9-0 run to take control of the game with a 12-3 lead.

“People only see me serving, but my teammates are the ones digging the ball and hitting the ball,” said Loe, who had two aces in the service turn.

Bliss and Kamalu were at their most effective at the end of the second game and the start of the third game, as they clogged the Tigers’ hitting lanes. They had two blocks in the 9-0 rally.

“We just kind of focused there on their hitting,” Kamalu said. “She and I had really good chemistry.”

Kamalu then explained her blocking process.

“When I am at the net, I look at the pass, and then I find their hitters, and then I go to the setter and see if they give anything away,” she said.

The Tigers, however, showed resiliency. Already down two games to none and none facing a monstrous disadvantage in the third game, Hurricane battled to stay alive.

Immediately after the Thunder stretched their lead to 19-9 on back-to-back aces by Julia Perez, the Tigers went on a 12-4 run to pull within two.

Sela Filo’s blocking and the serving of Addie Edwards and Melisha Sefita keyed the rally.

“We just lost focus,” Kamalus said. “Sometimes you get so far ahead that you think the game’s over, and that’s not the case. We just had to get our heads back in the game.”

The Thunder closed out the match on ace by Bliss to earn a key win, as the Thunder (9-2 overall, 5-0 Region 9) are now the only team left unbeaten in region play.

“We knew coming into this match that this was a big game,” Loe said. “They are one of the teams to beat in Region 9. We came in expecting to play a tough game.”

For her part, Loe had a big night, as she consistently aided the Thunder’s cause with her digging, serving, and hitting from the left side. She combined power with surgical precision, severing the Tiger block on several occasions.

Loe was quick to deflect the credit to her setter.

“I have an amazing setter, Alexa Goulding,” Loe said. “She makes me look good.”

In the first game, Desert Hills was not as crisp as they were later in Games 2 and 3, but the Thunder had a knack for keeping the rally alive, and cashing in when the Tigers eventually erred.

In Game 2, Desert Hills went on a 7-1 run on Bliss and Perez’s service turns to build a 13-7 lead. The hitting of Malary Reed and Shania Hurst pulled the Tigers within one at 19-18, but then the Thunder got blocks from Loe and Kamalu and two kills by Loe to close out the set.

Both teams wore pink to raise funds for former Hurricane running back, Brian Scott, who is battling cancer. The players on each team also wore on the back of their shirts the name of a person in their lives who has or who is battling cancer.