Gia Pridell couldn’t be upset after this loss.
Not after watching her Le Grand volleyball team scratch and claw its way back from an 0-2 hole before finally falling to No. 2 seed Bradshaw Christian 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 25-27, 15-13 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 quarterfinals on Thursday night at Bradshaw Christian.
The Le Grand crowd that made the two-hour journey to watch the game gave the Bulldogs (16-6) a standing ovation after the match.
“The odds are against you when you’re down 2-0,” Pridell said. “They worked so hard to come back. We started that third game down 8-0 and 14-4. I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to give up.’ But we’re fighters. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
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Early on it looked as if the Pride was going to send the Bulldogs home early.
Le Grand started the game in a funk as it struggled returning serves and passing. As a result, Bradshaw Christian easily won the first two games. When the Pride jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the third game and later a 20-11 advantage, Bradshaw Christian coach Melissa Bowers started getting some of her reserves on the floor.
“It took us awhile to warm up,” Pridell said. “I called a timeout when we were down 14-4 in the third game and I just told my girls you have to believe. You have to believe you can come back. I told them to have fun, put a smile on your face and play volleyball like you know how.”
Pridell’s words had the desired effect.
The Bulldogs started digging balls they were getting to in the first two games.
Savanna Barnett (18 kills and 3 blocks) and Breanna Flores (14 kills) started putting away swings. Kinsey Haas was all over the floor with 30 digs.
“That girl will probably go home with bruises all over her body,” Pridell said.
Le Grand made an improbable comeback to win the third game 25-22 by scoring 14 of the final 16 points.
The Bulldogs then made the match very interesting by outlasting the Pride in the fourth game 27-25.
“This is the first time we’ve played a team as scrappy as they are,” Bowers said. “They’re able to keep the ball going for so long. We have not been tested like that.”
The fifth game was close throughout, but it was Pride star Rachael Byerly coming up big down the stretch with three kills. She finished with 22 kills.
“I’m not disappointed,” Barnett said. “We played a really good game. I would have never thought we would have gone to five games. It is sad, being my senior year. We had high expectations. We wanted to bring home a blue banner, but I’m not disappointed at all.”