WARDSVILLE, Mo. — The California Pintos volleyball team lost its second game of the season, falling in two tough sets to the Blair Oaks Falcons 25-23 and 25-20 on Sept. 19.
The first set started off really well for the Pintos (8-2-2), as they won the first six points in a row to take a 6-0 lead. Blair Oaks (12-0) finally got on the board after the Pintos missed a serve to make it 6-1. The Pintos went on another little run as they won four of the next six points to make it 10-3.
With the score at 13-5 and the Pintos with the serve, it looked like California had the first set under control. But Blair Oaks started to make a comeback.
The teams traded points, and the Falcons slowly started to climb back into the game as they made the score 16-10.
The Pintos extended their lead to the largest of the game at nine points with the score 19-10, but Blair Oaks went on a big run as they won the next 10 points in a row to make it a 20-20 game.
The two teams traded points once again until, with the score tied at 22-22, the Falcons won the next three out of four points to complete the comeback.
Head coach Julie Bailey said she told the team before the second set not to get down.
"After the first set, I told the girls to be ready to fight back," Bailey said. "We had to start the second set with the same type of intensity that we had in the start of the first set."
The Pintos did come out with that same intensity, as the second set was close throughout. California started out with a 4-1 lead but Blair Oaks tied it at 4-4 before taking a one-point lead themselves. California tied the set at 5-5, and the two teams alternated points between them as neither team was able to pull away.
Blair Oaks began to build a small cushion at 18-13 but this time, it was the Pintos who began to make a comeback. California won seven of the next 10 points to make it 20-21. But Blair Oaks responded with a four-point winning streak to win the set and the game.
Bailey said the Pintos played better defense in the second set.
"Our defense got better which allowed our setters to get the ball to our hitters," Bailey said. "We were able to get some big kills and gain points, but unfortunately not enough."
Bailey said she hopes the team learned to not get down and give up.
"Blair Oaks fought from a deficit in the first set, and we did the same in the second set. Hopefully (the players) learn that a game is never over until the final point is scored," Bailey said. "I want them to remain determined, motivated and unified until the match is over."
Throughout the match, there were points where the gym was rocking as fans of both teams made some noise. Bailey said she did not believe the noise impacted the team in a negative way.
"We are used to that level of noise in our own gym, so the girls and team are very used to it," Bailey said. "It makes the game more exciting and fun. I would say we play better in that environment than we do in a quiet gym."