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RedHawks win, earn MVL co-championship with Maxwell
When it mattered the most the Colusa High varsity volleyball team played its best match of the season.
The RedHawks avenged their only Mid-Valley League loss with a 3-0 win against Maxwell on Tuesday and earned a share of the league championship with one game remaining.
Both teams won again on Thursday in the final games of the regular season but the league championship was decided on Tuesday. Maxwell and Colusa finished the season with identical 9-1 records in league and are the MVL co-champions.
"I thought they defended very well against us. They seemed to be in all the right positions at all the right times," Maxwell coach Dan Gellermann said.
Colusa senior setter Mattie Myers took advantage of her team's good first touches, setting up another big game by Emily Mobley, and sophomore Teale Stacey had her best game of the season.
Maxwell's Jenna Powell got the Panthers off to a strong start with three kills early in the first game, but Mobley took control of the match with back-to-back blocks, sparking a six-point rush by the RedHawks.
Colusa won the first game 25-16 and went on to win the next two games 25-17 and 26-24.
In Game 2, the Panthers again took a 9-8 lead before the RedHawks came back, this time it was Stacey who swung the score in Colusa's favor with two kills and an ace.
The RedHawks took a 16-10 lead in the third game, but the Panthers rallied back with two kills and a block by Powell, eventually tying the game at 19-19 on an ace by Jessica Jenkins.
Maxwell took a 24-22 lead after Maribel Venegas served three consecutive aces, but Mobley closed the game out with two kills to win the match.
"I just saw us come together, this win was so big for us. We as a team, going into this game, knew we had to win — especially since it's senior night," Mobley said.
The RedHawks spent Monday's practice working on passing and it paid off on Tuesday, according to Mobley.
The entire team contributed to the defensive effort; Yasmin Moreno, Brittanee Garcia, Ruby Dunham, Devin McKee, Ashley Ornbaun and Angela West all saw significant playing time as part of Colusa's rotation.
"It's a really big confidence booster for us to know that we have everybody that we need on the court playing a part," Mobley said.
Stacey, a sophomore, had her biggest game of the year with 11 kills and nine blocks. Stacey credited the large contingent of football players and students cheering in the stands for helping keep their energy levels high on senior night.
"We love our seniors and it's amazing that we can do it for them because this year is for them and next year, there's seven seniors leaving so there's only going to be four returners next year," Stacey said.
Mobley led the RedHawks with 14 kills and six blocks, Moreno made two kills, and Myers had two aces.
Powell led Maxwell with nine kills and a block, Ashley Azevedo had four aces and two kills, Kaily McKinley had three kills and two blocks, and Venegas had four aces. Jenkins and Brittney Haywood had two kills each.
Maxwell beat Biggs 25-13, 25-18, 25-10 on Thursday and finished the regular season with a record of 14-3 overall and 9-1 in league play.
For Maxwell, the season was an impressive turnaround after winning just one match all season last year.
"This whole season has been an incredible success for our team given where they came from, so I can hardly complain, they've done really, really well," Gellermann said.
Colusa played a tough match in Portola on Thursday but escaped with a 23-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-17 victory, finishing the season with a 18-11 overall record and 9-1 in league play.
Colusa, seeded eighth in the Division IV playoffs, host ninth-seeded Orland on Tuesday. Maxwell is the No. 6 seed in Division VI, and plays Tuesday at No. 11 Paradise Adventist.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.