The Three Rivers volleyball team was in no hurry to get home from Coldwater Monday night, rallying from a two-game deficit to take the final three and the match.
The first two games served as a warm-up for the Wildcats, which also climbed out of a two-game hole and a fifth-set deficit last week against Berrien Springs.
With each passing come-from-behind victory, head coach Brandy Stalhood’s team’s confidence grows.
“I told my team I loved that we pulled out the win and can come from behind,” she said. “I don’t love being there, but we seem to be the group that doesn’t really crack under that kind of pressure.”
The host Cardinals claimed the first two games (25-20, 25-22) and appeared to be on track for a nonconference win.
However, Three Rivers wasn’t ready to load up the bus so early.
“Game 1 and Game 2 were definitely not us,” Stalhood said. “We were just slow on the court; we couldn’t pass really well, struggled with serve-receive and really couldn’t get the ball past the 10-foot line. It just kind of seemed like a switch kind of flipped. We want to take this match. Game 3 and game 4 we definitely built on.”
Three Rivers hit the gas for a 25-19 win in the third set and trucked through Coldwater 25-8 in the fourth game.
Strong serving gave the Wildcats a 7-1 lead in the final game, but an out-of-rotation call Stalhood strongly disagreed with at 7-4 temporarily derailed the Wildcats. Coldwater went on to take an 8-7 lead.
“I think there was a call there that changed the momentum of the game; it kind of rattled us for a couple points, but we talked about not letting it bother us, not letting the pressure bother us and staying aggressive at the net and force them to make some errors,” she said. “That’s what we did.”
The Wildcats (22-6-5 overall) finished strong for a 15-12 victory to close out the night.
Teagan Reeves put down a team-high 22 kills, five aces and 12 digs. Hannah Landis recorded 11 kills and four blocks, Carly Nichols chipped in 10 kills and nine digs, Morgan Roderick registered nine kills and three blocks and Kalie Cole finished with 52 assists for the Wildcats.
Snubbed by the latest Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association Class B rankings, Stalhood’s fine with flying under the radar, though she believes her program should be in the discussion.
“I think maybe we could be an honorable mention team at least,” she said. “This is new for us. We’ve never been a volleyball program. We’ve slowly built to this over the past three years. I think we’re getting there. State rankings are sometimes a popularity contest. I don’t really put a ton of stock into it. I look at how my team’s been performing, and I’m happy with the way we’re going. We seem to be building in a positive direction and that’s what’s most important to me.”