By Nick Spooner
The Glendale Community College Gauchos narrowly defeated the Phoenix College Bears 3-2 in five sets in the opening game of the 2017 volleyball season Aug. 25.
It was a tightly contested shootout with neither team wanting to give an inch. Though the Bears took a commanding 2-1 lead after three sets, the youth of the Gauchos proved resilient.
“What we have been trying to work on is our poise. We are really young, so we have been trying to get everybody up to speed and up to that level where we feel like its okay in crunch time,” GCC Sophomore, Oriana Montoya, said.
That poise proved critical when the Gauchos found themselves with their backs against the wall in the fourth set, but they battled through, eventually taking the set 25-18 and carrying the momentum over into the fifth set where it felt like the fate of the game rested on every play. Again, the young Gauchos were unfazed and took the last set 15-12.
This was the Gauchos first game of the season.
“It felt good finally getting to play another opponent other than ourselves. We’ve been doing this for three weeks now in the pre-season, and it was good to get those first game jitters out,” Montoya said.
Throughout the game, the two teams appeared to be evenly matched.
“It just speaks to the strength of our region and conference that there are no give-me’s. You’ve got to bring it every time. We’ve got a lot to work on still, we have to go back and sure up some weaknesses, but I thought it was a really well played match. I thought my freshman outsides did a nice job tonight,” Gauchos’ head coach Lisa Stuck said.
“I thought Oriana Montoya had a really well rounded night: she had 20 kills, 5 digs 2 solo blocks and 1 more assisted. That’s a pretty well rounded performance,” Stuck said.
Montoya’s 20 kills lead the team. A kill is defined by the South Dakota High School Activities Association as “an attack that is not returnable by the player on the opposing team and leads directly to a point.”
“I think this year is going to be a total team performance. There is not going to be that one super-star player. It is going to take all of us to get it done,” Stuck said.