GJ rallies past Fruita for first league win since ’07
It’s a match that, in years past, the Grand Junction High School volleyball team would have lost.
The Tigers, though competitive in Southwestern League matches the previous two seasons, couldn’t seem to find a way to pull out a league victory.
That was until Tuesday, when Grand Junction rallied to defeat Fruita Monument 25-21, 21-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-9 in Fruita.
“That’s the crucial thing — it’s league,” Tigers coach Lynette Robinson said.
“(We’ve waited) oh, so long,” Tigers senior outside hitter Jordan Doughty said of Grand Junction’s first SWL victory since Oct. 16, 2007. None of the current Grand Junction players were on varsity at the time; Robinson was a co-head coach.
“I think we wanted it so bad,” Doughty said.
The Tigers (5-2, 1-0 SWL) were in control through most of the first game. The Wildcats tied the match after leading most of the way in the second game.
Game three was a potential turning point. The Tigers led 24-19 and couldn’t put the game away, committing four hitting errors in allowing Fruita Monument (4-4, 0-1) to score seven unanswered points to win the game.
“The games we lost were (on) our errors,” Robinson said. “We’ve got to control the game.
Our unforced errors are what hurt us.”
It’s also a game that would have haunted previous Tiger teams that faltered down the stretch.
With Grand Junction leading 18-17 in the fourth game, Doughty went to work on the left side, recording three kills as the Tigers pulled away.
“I feel like once I start hitting, I’m not scared. I feel on,” Doughty said.
That’s the key, Robinson said.
“It’s playing mentally tough instead of scared,” Robinson said.
“This year we are not afraid to hit the ball,” Doughty said.
Leading 12-9 in the deciding game, the Tigers got two kills from Jamie Derrieux and one from Doughty to put the match away.
Doughty and Derrieux led all players with 13 kills apiece.
“They’re getting it,” Robinson said the team adapting to her belief that if the defense is solid, the offense will come.