MILLVILLE — It all came down to the fifth set Tuesday evening at Ridgeline.
Short-handed Mountain Crest had rallied twice to extend the match. However, in the fifth game, it was all Riverhawks.
Host Ridgeline jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two errors by the Mustangs and a block by Sydney Donavan. The Riverhawks never looked back in notching a big Region 11 win, 35-33, 22-25, 25-15, 25-27, 15-8.
“It was fun,” Ridgeline outside hitter Gracee Putnam said. “We really do just focus on one ball at a time. That first set was crazy.”
Mountain Crest was playing without three starters Tuesday, including veteran setter Jaycee Osborne, for various reasons. The Mustangs (17-6 overall, 3-2 region) were scrappy and kept fighting, but in the end the Riverhawks (9-8, 3-2) came through when they needed to.
“It’s just an unfortunate situation that we were in,” MC head coach Kindra Anderson said. “We didn’t find out two of them wouldn’t be here until after practice last night. We rolled with the punches. I’m happy with how we played. I can’t discredit my team. Every single one of them fought hard.”
The Riverhawks finished off the fifth set and the match by scoring the final five points. Brinlie Crosbie came up with two of her 13 kills and also teamed up with Donavan for a block. Donavan finished with five blocks, while Crosbie had three on the night.
“We had composure tonight in a way that we haven’t seen before, and that was really rewarding,” Ridgeline head coach Jaicee Roden said. “We’ve been focusing on being confident, having composure and making plays with courage. Tonight we saw a lot of composure. I think we will continue to get better.”
The opening set was a wild one. There were 10 lead changes, and it was tied 20 times. Mountain Crest served with set point on the line six times. Ridgeline also served with set point on the line six times.
“That was the longest game I’ve ever seen I think, holy moly,” Anderson said. “If we would have got the first set, I think it would have been a lot different.”
The Riverhawks scored the last three points to take the opening set on a bad serve by the Mustangs and kills by Savannah Perrett and Crosbie.
“Getting that first set was huge,” Roden said. “The first set gave my team momentum. That gave them confidence. Then we keep working on being consistent.”
Putnam had eight of her 15 kills in the first set.
“We have really tried to stay composed.,” Putnam said. “We needed to be confident too.”
“Gracee did a nice job being an all-around player tonight,” Roden said.
The second set was tight throughout as there were 11 ties. The Mustangs were able to rattle off four straight points to get some breathing room with Ashley Welker serving, her first action on varsity this season. Ella Douglass finished off the second set to even the match with one of her 13 kills on the night.
Ridgeline used a 7-0 run to break open the third set, building a 17-9 lead. An ace by Livvy Davies and a kill by Puntnam ended the third.
Mountain Crest used runs of 6-0 and 6-1 to rally from down five to take a 21-17 lead. But as was witnessed all match, no lead was safe. Ridgeline tied it at 25-25. However a hitting error by the Riverhawks and a kill by Douglass sent the match to the fifth.
“I’m really so proud of my girls,” Anderson said. “We had girls playing different positions and some of them have not played varsity. They did a fantastic job. … We just couldn’t get a sideout in the fifth and that messed with our heads. I think we got scared to lose, and we were in a rotation that we got stuck in all night.”
Ridgeline served well Tuesday, coming up with 15 aces. Four of those were served up by Crosbie, who also had 12 digs. Davies led the Riverhawks with 13 digs.
“Every night is the biggest match of the year, that’s what I tell them,” Roden said. “It’s not because of who the opponent is, it’s just the match at hand.”
Kiera Crosbie led the Mustangs with 15 kills and added 15 digs. Douglass had three aces, a match-best eight blocks and hit .290. Gracie Garlock had a match-best 16 digs. Madalyn Constantineau added seven kills and 14 digs, while Olivia Gale came up with 11 digs. Filling in for Osborne, Sadie Chambers had 42 assists.
Two matches involving teams from the valley did not happen Tuesday due to COVID.
Sky View was supposed to visit Green Canyon, but the Bobcat coaching staff is in quarantine. That match is tentatively rescheduled for Oct. 14.
Preston was scheduled to play at district rival Century. That match was canceled because Century was dealing with the virus. That match will most likely not be made up.
In the only other match that took place in the valley was Logan hosting Bear River. The Bears (6-8, 2-3) outlasted the Grizzlies (4-13, 0-5) in a five-set thriller, 25-22, 25-16, 18-25, 23-25, 15-6).
Brynlee Barton had seven kills, while Kaylee Peterson had six finishers for Logan. Alyssa Gurr had four blocks.