In the opening set of Moriarty volleyball’s Oct. 1 matchup against East Mountain, the visiting Lady Timberwolves pulled off a bit of a stunner.
Class 3A East Mountain played much better than a team that came in with only one win all season, outlasting the 4A Lady Pintos 25-23 in the first set to take a 1-0 advantage.
“It’s a little bit of a hometown rivalry,” East Mountain head coach Kasi Giovenco said. “So having that initial win right from the get-go was good.”
But Moriarty, who was missing a few key players, regrouped, found its rhythm and took the next three sets to win the match 3-1.
“Three of our girls are not here and we had to make some adjustments, so for them to be placed in a competitive situation with these changes, I think they needed to just wake up,” Moriarty head coach Michael Baguskis said about the first set.
The match was a warmup for district play for both Moriarty and East Mountain, and when the Lady Pintos started a little sluggish, the Lady T’Wolves took advantage.
East Mountain grabbed a quick 5-1 lead with Breanna Rawlings serving and continued to forge ahead with leads of 10-3 and 12-6.
“It was exhilarating, for sure, I wasn’t expecting it, but it was awesome,” Rawlings said. “It was a good start, yeah, we were all shaking with adrenaline.”
Moriarty battled back, getting two-consecutive aces during a 7-0 run with Presley Edwards serving. The score was tied 22-22 before East Mountain pushed ahead for the win.
“You know, all these girls, they’re friends, they went to middle school together, so it’s like, it’s a good vibe even though it’s a rivalry feeling,” Giovenco said.
Moriarty woke up in the second set, taking a quick 5-0 advantage with Miranda Quintana serving. Four attack kills from outside hitter Aneesa Chavez helped lift the Lady Pintos to an 11-2 lead on the way to a 25-5 win.
“We knew that we just had to turn it around,” Chavez said. “The second game, we knew, like we had to step it up—that changed our moods, definitely.”
Moriarty never trailed in the third set, though the score was tied at 6-6, 10-10, and 12-12. The Lady T’Wolves played catch-up the whole game and pulled within a point at 18-17. Sophia Marez’ kill capped a 3-0 run to extend the Lady Pintos’ lead to 21-17. Marez’ tip to the open floor gave Moriarty the 25-19 win.
The decisive fourth game was also close early, tied at 8-8 before Moriarty went on a 7-0 run to pull ahead for good. Chavez’ kill late in the set put the Lady Pintos up by 10. She finished with a game-high 10 kills. An errant East Mountain serve that sailed out of bounds gave the Lady Pintos the set-winning point at 25-15 and the 3-1 match victory.
“I told the girls that they shouldn’t have their heads hanging on this loss, you know, hold your head high because you were pushing the entire time,” Giovenco said.
“We just gotta continue to do what we’re doing and get ready for district games that start against Pojoaque on Thursday,” Baguskis said.
“I think we started off a little bit slow at first but then we got into it,” Quintana added. “Overall, I think we did really good.”
Moriarty (11-4) extended its winning streak on Oct. 4 by beating Miyamura 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-16, 29-27) at home in the annual Dig Pink match.
East Mountain (2-14, 1-1) lost its Oct. 4 district opener to Sandia Prep 3-0 (16-25, 15-25, 9-25). The Lady T’Wolves bounced back to win a four-setter over Cottonwood Classical Prep 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 20-25, 25-22), securing their second win of the season and their first district victory.
Moriarty opened its district play Oct. 6 against Pojoaque Valley.