GODDARD — Moments after Goddard's volleyball team exacted revenge by beating previously unbeaten Valley Center 25-12, 18-25, 25-20, Lions coach David Gardner shook his head.
"That's volleyball," he said with a smile. "It's classic. Up and down."
Was it ever. Both teams played positively wonderful at times... and awful at others.
For Goddard, the victory over Valley Center was sweet because the lone blemish on the Lions' 9-1 record came at the hands of Valley Center (9-1) in a season-opening tournament.
"That was a rough match," Goddard hitter Shelby Zoglman said. "We had 21 hitting errors in that game. We just dug a hole, and we wanted to come out tonight and show we could play with them."
"We wanted revenge so bad," Goddard setter Kjia Hart said.
After both teams defeated Great Bend on Tuesday — Goddard won 25-12, 25-7, while Valley Center won 25-17, 25-15 — Goddard opened the first game against the Hornets in dominating fashion. The Lions rolled to an 8-3 lead and never slowed as Valley Center committed 11 unforced errors to Goddard's five.
Game 2 was a complete reversal. Goddard, which had three hitters combine for 11 kills in the first game, only managed five, four from Zoglman. And Valley Center could do no wrong. When they tipped, they found open spots. When they hit, Goddard's passers suddenly couldn't control the ball.
Valley Center junior Ashlyn Driskill had two kills and three tips and a block for points in that game. She finished with six kills.
Game 3 was much more even.
While Goddard opened up a 7-1 lead off four unforced errors by Valley Center, the Hornets responded, chipping away at the lead. Setter Emily Otte set the ball over on the second hit twice, getting Valley Center to within 10-6. Meagan Williams then had four kills to get within 13-12. She finished with a team high eight kills in the match.
Valley Center took a 17-15 lead, but that's when Goddard's Rachel Lee answered with three straight kills. She finished with seven kills, while Zoglman had nine and Shelby Ebarb had seven.
"It's been mostly Shelby and Shelby this season," Hart said of Goddard's top hitters. "But Rachel Lee, she stepped it up tonight. She was consistent."
With Valley Center leading 20-19, the Hornets reverted to their Game 1 play, committing unforced — and untimely — errors. Goddard scored the final six points for the win, with one of those points coming when Valley Center let a serve fall untouched between two players.
And that irked coach Bryan Otte.
"I thought we had a great push. It's tied at 20, and then we have three stupid serve-receive errors," he said. "That's what we hang our hat on. That's just gut-wrenching....
"If we go down swinging and banging, I can live with that. But to end it with the ball dropping between two who know better, that's pathetic."