After opening the matchup with a victory in set one, the Buchanan boys volleyball team dropped sets two and three to the Clovis West Golden Eagles, before rallying in the fourth and final set to take the TRAC victory at home.
“This is what we’ve been facing all year. Every match we’ve got a lot of new bodies; rookies and a mixture of veteran guys and we just keep pushing one step at a time in every match. We just want to get better and a little bit more consistent,” Buchanan head coach John Jay said.
Thursday’s victory puts the Bears at 4-3 in the TRAC, which has them in a three-way tie for the second spot with Clovis North and Clovis East, just behind top-seeded Clovis North.
Marec Szpor, Donovan Constable, Cody Watts and Nolan Zaayer, among others, contributed to a hard-fought win over a Golden Eagles squad looking for a win after six straight losses.
The Bears athleticism and cohesiveness on the court allowed them to fight through adversity and come out winners.
“We have certain individuals that have the ability to get up there and smash some balls, but we want to be more consistent,” Jay said. “Not necessarily getting the chance to terminate the ball, but more so having the opportunities to terminate the ball.”
After senior Garrett Gross came up big in the first set with an important dig, the Bears rallied for an opening-set victory.
In set two, the Golden Eagles responded to the Bears challenge. Both teams jumped out to a 6-6 tie, but the Golden Eagles began to take a foot hold after freshman captain Matthew Hamm’s kill got the visiting supporters to their feet.
Buchanan responded after Constable powered a kill through two Golden Eagles at the net, giving the home team a 13-12 lead. A missed serve on the subsequent play gave the Golden Eagles a point and a chance to build on a tie game.
Savunnly Kim scored consecutive points, Collin Galaviz recorded a kill and Buchanan misplayed a pass, culminating in a 21-18 lead for the Golden Eagles. Buchanan made a run in the end behind Szpor, who tied the game at 23, but the Bears couldn’t find the points in the end, leading to a Clovis West win 27-25.
Set three followed the same script. Both the Bears and Golden Eagles traded points throughout, but one team tightened up towards the end of the set for the better.
Clovis West was down 8-3 early after Zaayer scored on three-straight aces. Buchanan had the momentum, but Clovis West flipped a switch halfway through the set.
The Golden Eagles rode an 11-2 run, led by Jesus Herr whose ability to serve and play near the net gave Clovis West the boost they needed to win set three, 25-21.
Although down two games to one, the Bears never panicked. Their play stayed calm and energetic, but they began to find their rhythm in the final two sets.
In set four, Buchanan raced out to a strong lead.
It didn’t matter where on the court; the Bears were alert to the ball. Daniel Perez, the Bears’ libero, did his best anchoring the defense.
The Bears were able to keep the ball in bounds and find opportunities for each other, en route to a 19-11 lead. Buchanan eventually won the set 25-17, but more importantly, they looked ready to take the final set.
Buchanan once again came out and scored three quick points. Its attacking at the net overwhelmed the Golden Eagles, forcing deflections and miscommunications on the court. Buchanan took the final set after combing back into the series with two straight set wins.