PROSSER - Early on, if the Sunnyside High School volleyball team had played as well as it did in the third game of last night's match against Prosser, the Lady Grizzlies might not have been swept Tuesday evening.
Instead, though, the Mustangs galloped past the Sunnyside girls, winning 25-10, 25-10, 25-21.
"We scored more points in the third game than we did in the first two games combined," lamented Sunnyside Coach Angel Carrizales.
Prior to the start of the third contest last night, Carrizales attempted to rally her charges with a pep talk.
"I tried to convey to them that they are talented, and that we're as good or better than any team we face," Carrizales said.
The Lady Grizzlies listened, jumping out to a 4-3 lead on Prosser. Amy Amaro notched a three-point scoring run from the service line during that stretch.
The two clubs played nip-and-tuck throughout the remainder of the game. One player who helped immensely in keeping the Lady Grizzlies squarely in the third contest was Talia Spini. Working the net, Spini was matched up for the most part against Prosser's top spiker, Claire Raap. Spini had crucial back-to-back blocks against Raap that game that temporarily shifted the momentum Sunnyside's way.
All told on the night, Raap was only able to come through with three kills because of Spini's efforts, well below her average this season.
"Talia did a good job of shutting down Raap," said Carrizales.
Although Prosser rallied in the end to pull out the 25-21 victory, Carrizales couldn't fault her players.
"It wasn't for a lack of effort," she said. "I was pleased with the way we showed up in the third game," Carrizales added.
Individually speaking, three players, besides Spini, stood out at the net for Sunnyside last night. Christy Linde finished the three-game match with eight kills. She also had five defensive digs for the Lady Grizzlies. Becca Van Pelt contributed four kills and three blocks, and Sunnyside teammate Jaymee Arevalo added a six-kill effort. Lady Grizzly setter Kacee Jo Bootsma tallied 15 assists on the night, and Erica Mendez was credited with seven perfect serve-receives.
Prosser, which also swept the Lady Grizzlies on Sunnyside's home floor back in mid-September, improved to 8-3 in the Mid-Valley League standings with last night's victory. The Mustangs only trail Selah and West Valley in the conference standings.
Sunnyside fell to 1-9 in conference play with Tuesday's defeat. The Lady Grizzlies still have league matches remaining against Selah (9-1) this coming Thursday and against Wapato (0-10) next Tuesday.
Despite the Lady Grizzlies' less than glossy league record, Sunnyside can still advance to the postseason District tournament with a win over Wapato next week.
"A win would probably give us a first round District match against Prosser," Carrizales said.
"That would be the third time we'd face them this season. We believe they're beatable.
"When we're all on and we show up to play, we can play with anybody," Carrizales added.