It wasn't news Friday night when the Soroco volleyball team lost its first game against Plateau Valley. The Rams entered the match winless on the season.
And it wasn't news when the notoriously streaky squad won the second game of its match.
It certainly all became news after that, however. Soroco High School played its best volleyball of a frustrating season Friday, blasting Plateau Valley in four games, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-20.
"As a whole team, we came together and stopped accepting losing," senior Sarajane Rossi said. "We just played a lot better tonight."
Soroco's players have long pointed to negative attitudes that have fostered bushels of unforced errors and the team's undoing. Friday, they never seemed to stray from their happy places and the Rams (1-5) seemed like an entirely different squad.
Soroco was scrappy in beating Plateau Valley, with great digs and spectacular dives helping the team throughout the evening. A Tatum Lombardi save helped the squad go up, 21-11, in the second game, while in the third, Rossi leapt from the back line to hurl an off-target set across the net to make the score 13-6.
The Rams built big leads in all three of the games they won. Still, there was a moment in each when it all appeared on the verge of falling apart. The 21-11 lead in the second game was cut to 22-19. A 16-8 advantage in the third game was cut to 18-14, and a 19-11 lead in the fourth and final game was cut to 23-20.
Soroco always found a way to close, however, a strong all-around effort by Rossi paving the way. She led the team with eight kills and had five consecutive aces in the fourth game. Huge digs and kills by senior Katrina Maes and sophomore Corey Snyder helped, as did strong blocks from sophomore Ceanna Rossi. Freshman Lindsay Miles, earning some of her first varsity minutes of the season, came through big, as well, adding four kills and a consistent and strong arm at the net.
"She was so scared but stepped up and was awesome," Sarajane Rossi said. "I wish I was younger so I could keep playing with her."
Reeves said exorcising Soroco's unforced-error demons involved more than just the power of positive thinking.
The team's practice habits underwent a massive change after an ugly four-game loss that coincided with last weekend's homecoming activities.
"Finally!" she shouted, still collecting herself after the game. "Their errors have had consequences in practice, and they learned they have consequences in games. We've been trying to be harder as coaches, and they're really responding well."
The team didn't really seem to care whether the credit went to grueling practices, scrappy play or a hard-swinging freshman. On Friday night, the team just was happy to have collected its first win of the season.
"We finally pulled it off," Sarajane Rossi said, grinning wide.