Olympians quest for conference crown continues

Jimmy Spillane, Staff Writer

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The Mesa women’s volleyball team went through an up and down week. The Olympians defeated Cuyamaca College 25-16, 25-9 and 25-6, on Nov. 2 but were defeated by Grossmont College 20-25, 25-23, 25-16, and 25-23. Head Coach Kim Lester is in her 11th year as the Mesa women’s volleyball coach and has done an admirable job since adding 12 freshman to the team for the 2012 season. She has mixed and matched new and returning players to create a formidable lineup. The players come from all over San Diego County ranging from Escondido to Point Loma.

After losing a few matches early on in the season to high quality competition, the Olympians have started to gel. The team has rattled off one victory after another and has become 10th ranked in the state. Coach Lester likes where the team is headed and the respect they are earning. “Absolutely we are getting the respect we deserve. We came close in tough matches earlier in the season and now we are taking it one match at a time.”

The Olympians played an overmatched Cuyamaca squad but they were still there to compete. The first set started out evenly until middle blocker Sadie Sparks impactful spike paved the way for the team. Continuous spikes by outside hitters Jordan Snyder and Bre Bissell put a quick end to the first set at 25-16.

In the second set, Mesa took the lead 14-6 with a series of positive plays that included a block by Snyder and a spike by opposite hitter Brianna Smith. It then became the Sadie Sparks show when in consecutive plays, she had a tip, a block and two ferocious spikes. The lead ballooned to 23-9 and Mesa took the 2nd set 25-9. The third set started out the Olympians way as they looked to finish taking care of the Coyotes. Sparks began the offensive onslaught with two slams to give Mesa the lead 4-0. Opposite hitter Bethany Nosko then continued that trend doing it on offense and defense. She had two tips, a block and a spike that gave the Olympians an insurmountable 22-2 lead. Mesa won the set 25-6 and earned a clean sweep of Cuyamaca. Coach Lester was pleased with the outcome. “It was nice to go out and handle our business.It was a good dress rehearsal for Grossmont.”

The match that Mesa and their opponent, the Grossmont Griffins, had circled on their calendar was November 7. The Olympians wanted to win the conference outright and Grossmont wanted a share of the title along with retaliation for Mesa’s victory earlier in the season. The first part of the match went like many thought it would as it was highly contestant throughout. Mesa caught an early break when Grossmont served into the net and took the lead 14-7 with a tip by Sparks. With the lead 16-13 Mesa a spike by Nosko and a block by Alexandra Mootry increased the lead to 18-13. Mesa won the first set 25-20.

The second set was again close throughout; unforced errors by the Olympians gave Grossmont the lead 16-10 in the middle of the game. ” We had too many unforced errors, you can’t make those during a close match,” outside hitter Bissel said. Mesa trimmed the lead to 24-23 but a Griffin spike gave Grossmont the set 25-23.

Grossmont’s momentum carried them to victory in the next two sets as Mesa lost a heartbreaker. ” I think it will teach them to play to win every time they step out on the court,” Lester said. Mesa can win a share of the Conference title with a win against Palomar. The Olympians are now 18-5 and 10-1 in the Pacific Coast Conference.