Saguaro volleyball vs Eastmark

Oftentimes, volleyball can be described as a game of runs.

One team can find a good rhythm and score many points at a time, while the other team must figure out a way to respond.

This was the story throughout an evening volleyball match at Saguaro High School.

On Sept. 14 when the Saguaro Sabercats hosted the Eastmark Firebirds in a hard-fought match, the two teams went on their equal share of runs.

The Firebirds would edge the Sabercats in a five-set thriller.

The Sabercats started the game out strong. The team did not look like it just lost its second straight game in the previous night. They looked energized and ready in the first few points.

Eastmark is a strong, gritty team and at the conclusion of the game, it stayed undefeated (4-0) on the season. The Firebirds have a lot of talent at the net. Senior Skyler Fatola and freshman Brooke Harwood were crucial in Eastmark’s victory.

After the challenging loss, head coach Tim Church, of the Saguaro Sabercats communicated his reasoning for the team’s defeat.

“Stealing our own momentum by bad errors at the absolute worst time, is the only reason why we are 4-4,” Church said.

While the Sabercats were intense in the early moments of the first set, the Firebirds settled into the game and claimed the first set 25-22.

The Sabercats showed a great deal of determination, and the team did not let its first set loss steer them away from taking the second set 25-21.

The Firebirds silenced the home crowd occasionally, but the Sabercat fans really came alive during the third set because Saguaro would win the set again 25-21.

Braelyn Marshall was a bright spot for Saguaro in the hitter and blocker positions. She displayed loads of confidence in the match and converted on some big points for Saguaro. Entering this game, she knew it was not going to be easy.

“I was ready to compete with the other team because I knew they were going to be strong, and I wanted to play as hard as they did,” Marshall said.

The third set was back and forth, identical to the whole match. Late in the set, Church took a timeout to regroup with his team. Church said he admired what his team was doing early in the set defensively, but the team was struggling when it was receiving the serve from Eastmark. He wanted to gather his team and remind them of the appropriate approach.

“Try to stay disciplined, moving our feet technique wise,” Church said.

Church also talked to junior outside hitter, Ava Cotton, during the timeout. Cotton is a leader for the team on and off the court, and she helped her team claim the important third set.

“[Church] said you know how to come out of it, just trust yourself,” Cotton said.

The Sabercats won two sets in a row and the momentum was in their favor.

Some controversy would arise in the fourth set though.

Saguaro and the home crowd thought the Sabercats earned the victory at the end of set four, but the officials came together and decided that the point went to Eastmark.

The set continued. The atmosphere in the gym was unmatched. Fans were on their feet cheering and screaming for every single point. At last, after a long set, Eastmark would come back, 28-26, to force a fifth set.

Despite the loss, the Sabercats never gave up.

“We put almost all of our hearts into that game, and we really wanted to push and succeed,” Cotton said.

Eastmark would finish the riveting match out in the fifth, 15-13.

The Sabercats are now 4-4 on the season and are on a three-game losing streak after the Sept. 14 loss. Saguaro will look to end its losing streak on Sept. 19 when the team travels to Mountain Pointe High School.

“We have really good girls; I am really hard on them. I hold them to a high standard, and they let me coach them hard and I appreciate that so much,” Church said.

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