Peoria downs Havasu in five sets by just two points
It was another five-set thriller on Thursday night for the Lake Havasu volleyball team. The Knights fought hard but ended up falling short by just two points in the fifth set to drop their 4A West Valley regional opener against Peoria at 25-20, 29-31, 21-25, 25-14 and 13-15.
“I don’t like to lose but I walk away from a game like this feeling good because the team put forth the effort,” Lake Havasu Kari Thompson said. “I did not feel like they collapsed in any of the sets. They played things through until the end of the match. We just did not get that one side out when we needed it.”
After getting dominated in the first set by Havasu, the Panthers came out swinging in the second by taking a commanding 17-10 lead over the Knights.
However, the Knights took a timeout and from there went on three short scoring runs to tie the set at 20-20. Havasu ended up forcing the set to go into extra points. After seven rallies that saw the two teams exchange points, Peoria was able to string together two-consecutive kills to take the second set.
The Panthers used that momentum to take the third set, but it was not with the same gusto as the second. The Knights started the third set with a 7-2 lead, but Peoria charged back to take over with a seven-point scoring run to take a lead it would never surrender.
Havasu found a much-needed rhythm in the fourth set. The Knights started things off with an 11-5 lead. They consistently took advantage of the Panthers miscues and found the floor inbounds for points with almost every effort.
With a 22-12 lead in the fourth, Havasu won the next three out of five rallies to force a fifth set.
The fifth set of the game highly resembled that of the one the Knights played against Kingman Academy on Tuesday. At any point, it looked like the set could go either way.
Havasu and Peoria were knotted at 9-9 after splitting the first 18 rallies down the middle. The Knights went on a short three-point scoring run to go up on the Panthers, but Peoria turned around and did the same thing to put the game at 12-12 for yet another tie.
The Knights managed only one more point before the Panthers scored three to win it all.
Despite losing a game that easily could have gone the other way, Havasu walked away with its head held high.
“It feels better being that close than another team just completely killing us,” senior Sophia Fichter said. “I feel good about it because I feel like we put up our best fight. Now I really want it so the next time I play them I’m going to try even harder.”
“It wasn’t just one person fighting it was our whole team,” sophomore Rylinn Smith said. “Nobody really got down and we all pushed as hard as we could. This year is going to be a good year and I think with this game we proved we have a spot in our region.”
Junior Savannah Senica led the Knights offensively with 16 kills and six ace serves. Smith followed with 14 kills and Taylor Thompson added nine with five aces.
Tatum Liska had 45 assists and both Senica and Smith led the team defensively with 23 digs, respectively.
Havasu is now 0-1 in West Valley play and 6-3 overall with the loss. The Knights have a week full of road games coming up, starting with the River Valley Tournament on Saturday. From there, they travel to Bullhead City to face Mohave on Tuesday and close out the road trip with Glendale Cactus on Thursday.