SELAH - A pair of strong starts couldn't extend the Grandview Lady Greyhound volleyball team's season, as the squad lost twice at the CWAC District tourney this past Saturday to conclude the 2011 season.
In the first match of the day, Grandview took the first two games against East Valley, 25-16, 25-20; only to see the Red Devils rally with 25-19, 25-16, 15-11 victories to win the match. "We played pretty well throughout the whole match," Grandview Coach John LaFever said of his team's strong start.
The struggle over the final three games, he added, was because "we kind of relaxed a bit and we were just relying on a few people. We did end up missing a lot of serves in that match and that made a big difference."
The 3-2 loss dropped Grandview into a must-win contest against Ephrata. A victory would have sent the Lady Greyhounds on to Regionals this coming weekend, while a loss would end their season.
Grandview again started well with a 25-20 win in game one, only to falter and see the Tigers pull out three of the next four games to win in five; 25-18, 25-18, 20-25, 15-8.
"Again we played pretty well, but we had a tendency to relax a little bit and let them dictate the match," LaFever said. "Once you do that you have problems. At the end the other team got to set the tempo and we didn't really respond."
The loss capped Grandview's season and an exhausting day at Districts, with back-to-back five-game matches over a period of four hours without a break. "There was no lunch, not even a bathroom break between the matches," said LaFever.
Taylor Hall led Grandview at the net, pounding 39 kills during the two matches combined. Teammate Mikaela Espinoza smacked 24 kills, while freshman Sammy Grove had nine blocks and four kills for the Lady Greyhounds. Payton Parrish dished out 48 assists to pace the Grandview attack.
Saturday's losses at Districts snapped a string of State volleyball appearances for Grandview (7-2, 12-5). LaFever estimates his team advanced to the State tourney the past 11 or 12 years in a row.
"We had a lot of new girls in the program this year and they had a lot of things to learn," LaFever said. "Our back row passing was mainly done by sophomores and one senior. We weren't very experienced in the back row and that's where we let other teams set the tempo."
On a positive note, the coach said freshmen and sophomores seeing action at the varsity level this year showed improvement over the course of the season. "They made great strides, the team should be pretty good, there's good potential for next year."