Had there been any uncertainty about the premier volleyball team in the Desert Valley League, said doubt was decidedly lifted in Palm Springs on Tuesday night.
Led by the superb play of southpaw setter Morgan Dewyer, visiting Palm Desert battled back from dropping the evening’s opening salvo to take three straight sets from the host Indians for a 3-1 victory.
“I think we started off a little bit slow, a little bit out of our element, but we got into a rhythm and found our game,” said Dewyer, the Aztecs’ lone senior. “Our passing was off, but we came back fighting really strong.”
After Palm Springs took the opening set 25-23, Palm Desert remained undefeated in conference play by edging Palm Springs 25-20 and 27-25 in the second and third sets, respectively, before running away with a 25-16 win in the fourth. The 8th-ranked team in Division 2A, the win for the red-hot Aztecs served as a fine sequel to their emotional, 3-0 home win over the defending CIF champion Indians on Sept. 24.
“I think it says that when we put our minds to something, we can do whatever we want as long as we’re focused,” added Dewyer, acknowledging that the win defined Palm Desert as the best team in the league.
Despite the loss, Palm Springs holds on to second place in conference.
“I think they made in-game adjustments better than we did,” said Indians’ head coach Gary Wilhoite. “When we got down in the second set, we needed to make those adjustments and we just didn’t quite produce the way that we can. They took away the outside hitters a little bit, and they stared to take away the line and sealed that line where we were effective.”
In defeat, Palm Springs was led by 18 kills and 26 digs from senior Elena Eckhardt, complimented by 21 assists from Talya Mangione.
Star of the Game
Morgan Dewyer: It was apropos that Dewyer authored the winning, final point on Tuesday. For the evening, the lefty tallied 37 assists, 20 digs, six kills and five solo blocks.
Adding to the Aztecs’ potent net game, sophomore Danielle Boss and junior Tara Sauerbrey each had 13 kills.
Stats facts, notes
The win for Palm Desert was its 18th victory in the Aztecs’ past 19 league and non-conference matches.
Palm Desert (22-6, 7-0 DVL) stays on the road for a conference matchup at Xavier Prep (14-6, 4-3) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m., while Palm Springs (12-9, 6-2) has a week off before visiting Xavier next Tuesday.