It was one of the most remarkable turnarounds anybody had ever seen in a high school volleyball game.
After being handily beaten in the first two games and falling behind 15-8 in game three, it looked as if the Chester Volcanoes were going to lose 3-0 in an important league match against Redding’s University Prep last Thursday night.
But right about the time everybody was getting ready to go home, the Lady Volcanoes suddenly woke up.
Almost instantly, Chester transformed from making lots of errors to playing stellar volleyball.
Chester ran the next five points and took over the lead at 19-18. U Prep responded with a four-point run to take a 22-19 advantage, but then Chester ran four points and eventually captured game three 26-24.
“This season has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, with a lot of ups and downs,” said Chester coach Chad Hyink. “We need to start playing at a high level with more consistency. I think we have the physical talent and experience to… beat anyone on our schedule, however our mental focus and passion for playing the game hasn't always been present.”
As if almost wanting to hang on by a thread, the bad Chester team showed up again at the beginning of game four and spotted U Prep a 10-3 lead.
But like magic, the good Chester team suddenly returned and ran five points to get within two.
Of course, not wanting to make anything easy, the Lady Volcanoes allowed U Prep to get within three points of winning at 22-16, but then went on a 10-2 run to win game four 26-24.
“When games three and four were on the line, our defense was able to step up and make some plays behind some pressure serving,” said Hyink. “Kaylene Dyer, who served well all night, and Taylor Stelzreide both made serves that helped us get the victory in game three, and Hayley Perry hit four in a row in game four to clinch the win. The serving was clutch, but the passion of playing defense was the key for the comeback.”
In the fifth and final game, U Prep scored the first three points, but Chester quickly tied it. Then the teams traded point for point up to an 11-11 tie.
With victory in sight, the Lady Volcanoes once again hit stride and ran the final four points for a 15-11 win in game five and 3-2 victory.
“Hopefully this can be a turning point for our confidence and focus,” said Hyink. “Though we have been winning most of our league games, I don't think we are playing at the top of our game. We need our experienced seniors to step up their play and demand more out of themselves if we want to achieve some of the goals that were set for the season.”
The win put the Volcanoes at 5-1 in league play after the first round, with their only loss coming against Redding Christian two nights earlier.
“Going into the week, we were all fighting for first with zero losses each,” explained Hyink. “After losing to Redding Christian on Tuesday, the game versus U Prep became that much more important if we wanted to stay in the hunt for first.”