YAKIMA - In what was by far its best match of the season, the Sunnyside Lady Grizzly volleyball team won its first game in league play during a 3-1 loss at West Valley last night.
Sunnyside scored at least 20 points in each of the four games, losing 25-20, 25-21 in the first two games.
That set the stage for game three, a 25-21 Sunnyside win. The host Rams clinched the match victory in game four, though, with a narrow 25-23 win.
"We played our best match against West Valley," Sunnyside Coach Mikal Aberle said. "The girls finally competed. They didn't just settle with losing, I could see in their eyes that they really wanted to win. All four games of the match went back and forth. There never was really a big lead for either team."
Kiana Ramos led Sunnyside with 10 kills and teammate Molly Dolan pounded the net for eight kills and four blocks. Lani Ramos had six kills for the Lady Grizzlies, and teammate Hannah Marro added four blocks.
The Sunnyside attack was paced by good ball distribution, as Janelle Mendoza had 36 assists and three aces, while teammates Alissa Martin and Jessie Robert had 36 and 27 perfect passes, respectively.
The solid efforts weren't quite enough to put Sunnyside (0-12, 0-13) in the win column for the first time this season.
"When it came down to winning the game or losing it, we just couldn't get our serves in," said Aberle. "It is hard walking away from a match thinking if we would have gotten our serves over maybe things would be different."
Aberle said work on improving the service game will be a focus in preparing for Sunnyside's final match of the season, this coming Saturday at home against Hanford. Match time is set for 11 a.m.
"It was so exciting watching the girls get competitive and seeing them have a 'no mercy' look on their face," Aberle said of last night's match. "I could tell they really wanted it, and so did I. To prepare for our next match, we will definitely work on serving and being strong hitters on offense."