September 12, 2017 by Liesl Babicka, Arizona State University – AZPreps365.com
The Gilbert Tigers were looking for their first win on their home court against the Desert Ridge Jaguars Tuesday night. However, things did not go the way the Tigers would have hoped.
The Tigers lost in four sets, 21-25, 25-17, 18-25, 11-25 on their home court.
The team graduated 10 seniors this past season, leaving behind a class full of inexperienced players coming up from the junior varsity team.
The Tigers started off with the first point of the whole match. Play was close between the Tigers and Jaguars until the Jaguars started to pull away.
Senior Sentia Bryant and sophomore Amanda Jonovich had multiple blocks throughout the first set and into the rest of the game.
“She’s always our go-to player, she always does a really good job,” Desert Ridge head coach Brennan O’Connor said of Jonovich. “When we need a kill, we can set her and she’s the one who’s going to get a kill for us.”
Even though they lost their first set, the Tigers are still trying to build their technical skills as the season continues.
“Well, we’ll go back to practice and try to figure it out, so I think our mentality is fine,” Tigers head coach Joe Hesse said. “Right now, our skill level is struggling.”
As for the second set, the Tigers looked like a completely different team against the Jaguars.
Desert Ridge and Gilbert seemed to have flipped roles. Gilbert looked clean and without as many errors as the first set. Desert Ridge took on the load of errors instead.
“We were playing as a team, not six people on the court,” Gilbert captain Katana Montford said.
O’Connor was familiar with this type of play from his team.
“We’re a really young team and we’ve played like that all season,” O’Connor said. “We’re very inconsistent and so we’ll have one amazing set and then we’ll just play poorly one set.”
Montford finished off the second set with a kill straight down the middle of the court. The tables turned, looking to favor the Tigers.
Desert Ridge came back from their losing set. The energy throughout the third set was high for both teams.
The third set seemed close for quite some time before the Jaguars slowly started to pull away once again.
At one point Gilbert senior Madi Bohenek had three kills in a row during the set. Even with her three kills it was difficult for the Tigers to come back.
“We just work harder,” Montford said. “We work harder together, everyone is picking each other up, we just have to keep moving forward.”
The fourth set went by quickly for Desert Ridge, which won the fourth set 11-25, recording their sixth win of the season. Both teams are looking forward to their next games this week.
“We are just going along with the momentum, like I said we are a young team, every win we get more confident and so we are playing better every single match,” O’Connor said.
Desert Ridge takes on Desert Vista on Thursday.
The Gilbert Tigers take on Mountain Pointe on Wednesday, and Sandra Day O’Connor on September 14.