If a spectator walked in off the street into Thursday’s women’s volleyball game at Emery High School, the match they saw was unremarkable on the surface. The St. Mary’s team used better organization and communication to beat the energetic but hapless Emery squad in three straight games.
But looking deeper, this was actually a very good win for St. Mary’s. They were playing their junior varsity squad against Emery’s varsity, and still they handled the older opponents easily.
None of the three games were ever in doubt, as the Panthers dealt the Emery team a 15-6, 15-8, 15-4 setback.
Emery made many more unforced errors in the match, and at times it seemed a challenge for them to just get the ball over the net.
Whenever they won a point or side out, however, they went into choreographed step numbers that put the St. Mary’s celebrations to shame. Appreciate the small victories, apparently.
The St. Mary’s JV was led by Daniella Jimenez, who served for nearly half of the Panther’s points in the match, and the strong net play of Martha Ryan, who drove her spikes over the net with fervor.
The strong back-row play of Keli Yaris helped set up several spikes that seemed to take the life out of the Emery team whenever they made a short run.
St. Mary’s took immediate control of the match in the first game, quickly running the score to 9-4. Emery came back to win the next two points, but wouldn’t score again in the game.
The Panthers ran out to a quick 8-2 lead in the second game, but struggled to put Emery away, as both sides strove to get side outs and keep the other team from scoring. Only after nearly 30 changes of serve did St. Mary’s manage to claim a two-game lead.
Emery seemed dispirited for the last game, and the end came quickly, with Jimenez running off a six-point serving streak on the way to victory.
“I don’t really know why the varsity didn’t play this game, but it was a good experience for our team,” said junior varsity coach Jarrod Willis. “We really handled them well today, I thought.”