Palisade VB team holds off late rally to beat Summit

The Palisade High School volleyball team held off a potentially huge comeback from Summit with a rally of its own Thursday night.

Consecutive kills from senior outside hitter Emily Tucker in the fourth set capped a comeback from a four-point deficit for the Bulldogs, who held on for a 25-11, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23 win in the Class 4A Western Slope League opener for both teams.

“That match ended a whole lot differently than it started,” Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill said. “Kudos to Summit. They picked up their defensive game, and they were digging some shots, man. I mean, some of our hitters absolutely unloaded on the ball, and they were right there. (The Tigers) showed a lot of grit tonight.”

So did the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 WSL), who early on looked similar to the team that competed for a league title and hosted one of 12 regional tournaments last season. The Bulldogs opened the match by scoring 10 of its first 11 points and led the second set 8-1 before the Tigers started to come back against a Palisade squad with only four returners.

Those returners — Tucker, Naline Stephens, Reannon Baskin and Alexandra MacAskill — were up to the challenge. MacAskill, Tucker and Baskin combined for 39 kills, with MacAskill contributing a match-high 16 kills with 12 digs. Tucker added 13 kills, Reese Norton had 36 assists and three aces and Stephens chipped in 14 digs.

Some tough play up front from Emma McComb and Mia Popoff helped the Tigers (1-1, 0-1) nearly extend the match to five sets after losing the first two.

That’s when Palisade responded.

Consecutive kills from MacAskill staked the Bulldogs to a 10-5 lead in the fourth set before Summit scored eight points of a 9-0 run off Palisade mistakes to go up 15-11.

Palisade rallied to take a 21-20 lead on back-to-back kills from MacAskill. Summit responded again, getting kills from Payton Weinman and Kyla Hildebrand to tie it.

Tucker sealed the win with a pair of dink kills on the left side of the net, giving Wendy MacAskill reason to believe the Bulldogs can again contend for a league championship.

“We did lose a lot of players from last year, but what we’re returning is amazing,” the coach said. “The younger girls who have come up from JV are absolutely able to keep us at a level this program is used to being at. And I think as they gain more confidence, you’ll see that more and more.”

Fruita Monument def. Ralston Valley 25-15, 25-23, 25-20: The Wildcats (2-0) got 12 kills from Riley Snyder and 10 from Dana Thomson in the victory.


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