Varsity Starters for Volleyball Fall 2022- Homecoming Game

But none thrilled like the amazing game 3 that roused the crowd into a brief bit of a frenzy. Years from now, HRE players are going to remember this as the game of the “furious comeback.” It was simply spectacular to watch.
Backdrop: Harlowton won game 1 (25-20). Notable were a screaming spike by Grace Anderson, aces by Gabi Gary at points 22 and 23, and a couple of tip-spikes by Ashlynn McKeever– one of which was a wicked no-look back-hand winner. Isa Caballero served the winner, a net shot that foreshadowed things to come.
Tri-City took game 2, which was marked by good play, solid back-and-forth action, and some decent rallies that got the Titans the 25-19 win.
HRE got out to an early 5-0 lead on the strength of Garay’s serve. That lead was stretched to 11-6, with Ella Cooney making a great dig during the rally to get to 11, and then Mari Mysse blasted an ace to bring it to a 12-6 Engineer lead. You could see HRE was a little stunned. You could also see that they had their teeth gritted, and somehow there was a sense in the building that something magical might be coming. Again, Garay whacked a series of power serves that, combined with fine play from all players, surged the score to 20 for the Engineers and 22 for the Titans.
A six point deficit had been erased. More chanting….and more noise…and even more electricity in the air. Then both teams scored another point, so the game stood at 24-24 amid the frenzy of fans of both squads.
Up next came Theresa Baird (pride of Judith Gap for many reasons). She served the ball into play, and a short rally followed. Nail-biting time. Back-and-forth they went, until Sam Fenley nuanced a nice little tip shot to put HRE up 25-24.
Now, Baird’s at the service live. People crossed their fingers, and you could almost feel the held breath of almost everyone in the gym.
Here’s what Coach Bethany Cooney had to say on the night, “I think it was a great display of grit, because there were many opportunities to give up and lose, especially in Game 3. It was a full team effort to push for the win.”
And yet, in the big picture it was just another game and HRE was up 2 games to 1. They needed another win to get that third win to take the match. The Titans recharged, much to their credit, and took Game 4 (25-22). Match tied -- 2 games to 2 games.
Next, at 12-2, Garay was up to serve again, and that rally ended with a beauty of a spike by Isa Caballero. Then the whole thing was closed out when Garay delivered up a serve that hit and ran down the net and dropped over for the final point – a bit of avenging mojo to counter the flurry of net shots that fell for the Titans in game 2.
It was jubilation. A “furious rally” that was impressive to witness. More important, it was really, really fun to see the players so happy and the crowd fueling that happiness, and also soaking in some of that jubilation in the air.
“What a fantastic night for our team,” Coach Cooney said. “The crowd was great and we had so many players step up when the pressure was on. I could not be more proud. We win games on ball control and that is what got us our wins against The Titans—which is itself a strong ball control team. I am so proud of all the teams! A Harlo sweep Saturday night!”
Yep, that’s right. All the teams won their homecoming games. Both Junior High teams went 3-0, and the JV team went 3-1. Later this week, I will report on those teams, and post some photos of the talented young ladies who claimed those wins on Homecoming night.
And, the Varsity notched a win that makes them 2-0 in their last two outings. That’s a great reality for today.
Now, fast forward to a class reunion 20 years or so from now, and I guarantee at some point you will hear one grad ask another, “Remember that night of our furious rally?” If you were there, like me, you will know why.
--Reported by Dan Edwards
(Thank you again to Alison Fenley for the photos to share with readers)