Anzar overcomes two-game deficit to top visiting Pacific Grove
in Mission Trail thriller
San Juan Bautista – Trailing a tenacious Pacific Grove squad two-games-to-one, the Anzar girls’ volleyball team faced a significant dent to its playoff aspirations. But as the urgency and pressure grew, the Hawks stepped up with a stirring performance, clawing their way back point by point to prevail in a five-game thriller Wednesday in San Juan Bautista.

After overcoming deficits of 14-13 and 15-14 to ultimately top the Breakers 18-16 in the decisive game, Anzar (10-5) posted its third straight win in a nailbiter to improve to 5-2 in the Mission Trail Athletic League.

“It was pretty insane,” Anzar middle Christina Flores said after the Hawks’ 23-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-22, 18-16 triumph. “It was pretty intense. And the pressure was the best. … It brought the best out of us.”

Once they fended off a spirited challenge by Pacific Grove (6-5, 4-3 MTAL) in the fourth game, the Hawks appeared primed to surge to the victory after an ace by senior Aandra Fujita gave them a 6-2 fifth-game lead.

But the Breakers turned to star outside hitter Alex Bell to immediately turn the tables on Anzar. Behind five Bell kills in a seven-point span, Pacific Grove roared back to take an 8-7 advantage.

The supremely evenly-matched teams – they split their two five-game battles in 2005 – fought tooth and nail for the match, tying each other eight times from then on, with the final draw coming at 16-all when Bell drilled a kill past Fujita.

But following a Breakers’ service error, Anzar found fortune on its side at match point. After Pacific Grove libero Kendra Consiglio dug a hard shot by Hawks outside hitter Emily Deleissegues, Bell secured the ball on the left sideline, but her bump struck the rafters and dropped, cementing Anzar’s comeback win.

“This team has never died,” Hawks co-head coach Mike Dorney said, “never given up. When they pick each other up, when they have energy, they know the outcome is going to be positive. … Being down 2-1, coming back against a tough team, it’ll lead us to the second half (of the season) with confidence.”

Anzar had a tall mountain to scale after surrendering six consecutive points to the Breakers in a late fade in the third game. With Bell dialing up her dynamite offense behind eight kills in the game, the Hawks could easily have folded.

But behind selfless play and effective defense and passing, Anzar won seven straight Flores service points to take a 14-9 lead in the fourth game, a turning point for the Hawks’ confidence.

“We decided we needed to create our own energy,” said Deleissegues, who recorded a team-high 22 kills and 36 digs. “Once we did that, we pretty much turned it around. We just focused on … only worrying about what’s happening on our side of the net.”

And that worked wonders for the Hawks as they warded off their challengers to emerge with the stunning victory.

Flores controlled the middle of the floor throughout, registering 16 kills and five blocks. Junior Danielle Bossler notched 44 assists for the Hawks, and sophomore Erin Deleissegues had 23 digs and two aces.

“It’s huge,” Flores said of the victory. “It’s big. We needed to get this win. We can’t lose any more if we want to make CCS.”

On the heels of tough wins over Soledad and Carmel, the Hawks take a three-match winning streak into their match at Robert Louis Stevenson on Friday. “This just shows (that) one after another, after another, they can fight and endure,” Dorney said.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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