Hayden's Miranda Watts taps a ball back over the net Saturday as the Tigers battled West Grand. Hayden lost the match in three games.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Hayden's Miranda Watts taps a ball back over the net Saturday as the Tigers battled West Grand. Hayden lost the match in three games.

Hayden volleyball falls to West Grand in 3 sets

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2012 Tigers volleyball schedule

— Midway through the third game of the Hayden High School volleyball team’s home finale against West Grand, the Tigers would have needed a minor miracle to win.

They lost to the Mustangs in three sets earlier this season, and they seemed destined for another loss after losing the first two games.

Still, the Tigers were in the midst of their best volleyball of the afternoon, and they jumped ahead to take a 13-12 lead.

It was hardly commanding, but at least this one would be exciting down to the end, right?

Not quite. The next 12 points — all scored by West Grand — summed up the season for the Tigers. Good patches of volleyball have been unraveled time and time again by poor on-court communication, by long strings of errors and by a lack of powerful offensive swings.

West Grand retook the lead and went up 24-13. A small Hayden rally cut into that lead, but the Mustangs eventually wrapped up the afternoon sweep, 25-17, adding that set victory to 25-19 and 25-16 wins in the first two sets.

“We were really struggling with team unity,” Hayden coach Christene Planansky said. “Our communication was lacking and the moods of the girls dropped.”

The loss drops Hayden to 3-14 on the season. The team returns to action next weekend with a pair of crucial matches. The Tigers play on the road at Vail Mountain on Friday, then at Vail Christian on Saturday. A win or two would go a long way to keeping the Tigers out of a potential pigtail game and depositing them directly into the district volleyball tournament.

“I believe we can turn this around,” Hayden senior Kayla Dunckley said. “We just need to focus on playing together and keeping trust in each other.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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