Coming off of a tough tournament over the weekend, the Salt River Lady Eagles were ready to do well this afternoon against the Thunderbird Academy Storm on the road. The last time these teams had played one another, it was at home, and it took five very close games to get a victory.
The Lady Eagles started the game pretty evenly matched with the Storm. Neither team was able to get more than a 1-point lead. However, Salt River started to score, going up by 3, 6-3.
After a couple of mental errors though, Thunderbird Academy was right back in it, evening the score at 6. For the next few points, Salt River was able to maintain a 1- to 2-point lead, until the Storm tied it again at 9.
As the home team scored their 12th point to go up by 1 against the Lady Eagles, Salt River called a time out. Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, the return from the time out seemed to only benefit the Storm, who now had a 5-point lead.
Battling back, Salt River reduced that deficit to 3. Nevertheless, as the Storm scored their 20th point, Salt River had 16 and time was running out on the away team. Moments later, Thunderbird Academy scored their 24th point and were 1 away from winning the first game, which occurred on the next possession.
Salt River needed to win this second game if it didn’t want to be playing the rest of the evening in an elimination-game mindset.
It started off well for the Lady Eagles, who scored the first 3 points of the game. Getting back into it themselves, though, the Storm came back and tied it at 3. Still early in the game, the score remained close and both teams were playing well.
Working hard, Salt River was able to build a 3-point lead, 11-8, which forced Thunderbird Academy to call a time out. Despite Thunderbird calling the time out, Salt River seemed to have the advantage coming out of the break, scoring the next 4 points in a row.
Scoring their 18th point, the Lady Eagles were now up by seven. When Salt River was leading 21-12, Thunderbird Academy called another time out. It turned out to not help the Storm enough, as Salt River won it, 25-14.
The Lady Eagles, now tied one game a piece with Thunderbird Academy, had momentum on their side, having just won the last game by 11. Both teams were eager to get that first point, which went back and forth several times, and finally landed on Thunderbird Academy’s side, allowing for a Salt River point.
The game was tight, tied at 1 and again at 2. Then the Storm began playing much better, and, coupled with mental errors from Salt River, took an 8-2 lead. Salt River fought back to within 2, 9-7.
The middle of the game was close, as it was a 2- to 3-point lead for the Storm for a while. Working hard, Salt River brought it back to a 2-point deficit. As Thunderbird Academy scored their 20th point, Salt River was down by 5.
Salt River was able to tighten the score, and score their own 20th point (now down by 3). At that point, the Storm called a time out. Coming back from the time out, the girls continued to challenge every play, scoring the next point in from the break in the action. Working hard, the score was 24-23, with a Storm advantage.
At this point, Salt River called a time out of their own. Unfortunately, it was not enough for this game, as Salt River fell.
Salt River, now down two games to one, needed to win this next game in order to force a fifth game. The game started out similarly to the others, as each team scored their first 2 points. It was tied again at 2. Because of a couple of mental errors, Thunderbird Academy was able to build a 3-point lead, 5-2.
Salt River got back into it mentally and tied the game again at 6. It was then tied at 7. Both teams really wanted this win. As the game went on, the score remained very close. In fact, there were several more ties as the score reached 12 a piece.
Midway through, the Storm was able to build a small lead, now up 17-14.
Extremely resilient, Salt River got back into it, and tied it at 17. Scoring the next point, Salt River took their first lead since scoring the first point of the game. Thunderbird Academy was forced to call a time out.
Coming out of the break, the Lady Eagles continued to play well, as did the Storm. Scoring the 20th point, Salt River needed just 5 more points to force a fifth game. It would be close finish, as Thunderbird Academy tied it at 20.
It was tied again at 21. At that point, due to a mental error, the Storm scored a point, to lead by 1. Scoring the next, Salt River tied it back up. Scoring another, Salt River was leading, 23-22. Knocking one down from the back, Salt River was up 24-22, and needed just one more point to win. The Storm called another time out. Out of the time out, Salt River scored the next, winning 25-22.
With Salt River and Thunderbird Academy each taking two games, a fifth game would decide the winner of the evening. Each of the last two games was extremely close, and I was pretty sure that this one would be decided by fewer than 5 points.
Thunderbird Academy scored the first point, but the Lady Eagles came right back and tied it up. Scoring next, Salt River took the lead. Early in the game, Salt River was playing very well, and went up by 3, 4-1.
Seeming to want it more, Salt River went up by three again, 6-3. The Lady Eagles’ lead then shrunk to 2, at 7-5, and another point for the Storm made it a 1-point game. Salt River felt it was a good time to call a time out.
Out of the time out, Salt River and Thunderbird Academy were going back and forth on points; however, the Lady Eagles were able to build a 3-point lead, now up 10-7. At that point, Thunderbird Academy called a time out.
Up 12-7, the girls needed only 3 more points to win. The ball moved several times over the net and finally landed on the side of the Lady Eagles out of bounds, giving them another point. Now only needing 2 more points, Salt River was hungry for that win.
Thunderbird Academy scored a couple points of their own, bringing it to a 4-point game. But Salt River scored the next one, up 14-9, and 1 point away from winning the evening. The Storm called their last time out. Salt River scored the next, giving them the win.
Coming off a great five-game win last night against the Thunderbird Academy Storm, the Salt River Eagles were eager to get another win under their belt on their way to improving their ranking for the upcoming playoffs. This evening’s match-up would be at home against the Gilbert Classical Spartans.
Early in the first game, Salt River had a 3-1 lead. They continued to play smart, and increased their score by an additional 4 points, to have a commanding 7-1 lead. At that point, the Spartans called a time out to refocus their efforts.
In from the time out, the Lady Eagles scored the next point; but due to a mental error, Gilbert Classical got a couple points in a row of their own. Both teams went back and forth after that, making some great plays.
With a 5-point lead, Salt River was ahead 13-8. They continued to play mentally tough, and physically chase after each ball that came their way. It was not long before the Lady Eagles scored their 20th point, with a 9-point lead. Just five more points would give them the win. The Spartans refused to simply give in, and were able to score a few points of their own. However, it was simply too much for Gilbert to overcome, as Salt River took the first game by 11.
With a first game win, the Lady Eagles needed just two more victories to end the afternoon’s match-up early. With such a late game yesterday, the Lady Eagles were definitely hoping to put away the Spartans early.
Salt River scored the first 4 points of the second game. The only reason why it wasn’t 5 points in a row was a fault from crossing the line on a serve. With that motivation, Gilbert Classical was able to come back and score the next point.
Due to some mental errors, along with some interference by walls and light fixtures, the score went back and forth, but mostly in favor of the Lady Eagles. Salt River continued their dominance in the second game, and had a 6-point lead, up 10-4. The Spartans were ready for a time out.
In from the time out, Salt River continued to score points and play great defense, putting up the next 5 points. Although Gilbert Classical scored a point, Salt River continued to play well, scoring another 5 in a row, which brought their score to 20. At that point it would take some incredibly sloppy defense for them to lose the game, something that was unlikely after having played so well in the last month.
The Lady Eagles, now up by a commanding two-game lead, had just one more to go to complete the sweep. It started out well for the Lady Eagles, who scored the first 4 points of the game. The first point scored by Gilbert Classical was due to a bad serve, which went directly out of bounds.
In fact, the next Spartan point also came off a bad serve. Overheard by some of the players yesterday was that recently, when they do lose, it is only because of themselves, rather than the other team’s superior ability.
However, understanding it was a must-win game for Gilbert Classical, they were able to put up 5 points and close the gap to just 2. But the Lady Eagles bounced back with a couple unanswered points, bringing it back to 4.
The Spartans were feeling the heat though, closed the gap to 1, and then tied the game at 9. A faulty serve gave Salt River the lead once again. The next few possessions maintained a close game, as demonstrated when the score was tied again at 14.
Gilbert Classical definitely felt the pressure, and their high-caliber play seemed to affect the Lady Eagles, who made a couple mental errors, allowing the Spartans to stay in the game. Salt River scored their 20th point when Gilbert Classical had 18. Putting up their toughest completion of the evening, Salt River was still able to edge out their opponents by 7.