For lone Palm Desert senior Morgan Dewyer, Thursday night’s home victory over Palm Springs was more than just another tally in the win column for her Aztecs.
It was the first time in her four years of varsity volleyball experience the Aztecs had defeated the Indians in league play.
For a team hoping to make a serious DVL title push, taking down the defending undefeated DVL champs 3-0 was a major first step.
“It was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like this before,” Dewyer said. “After losing to Palm Springs all three years, I decided this was finally it for me.”
The Aztecs’ captain was the focal point of a dominant victory, setting up her opponents when balls appeared out of reach and occasionally using her powerful left hand to win points, too.
After the Aztecs took a somewhat comfortable four-point lead at 19-15 midway through the first set, it was Dewyer who set up the game point with a spike, before the Indians netted a shot for the set point at 25-21.
In the second set, the Indians took the early lead 8-4 before solid net play by the Aztecs gave them a 21-14 advantage, with the help of several errors by Palm Springs coach Gary Wilhoite’s team.
Although the Indians made another strong late surge, the Aztecs proved unwavering with a block at the net and a tip by Dewyer clinching the second set 25-23.
“We really tried to stay in every point, rather than get flustered … We weren’t worried about the point before or the point after,” Palm Desert coach Becca Willis said.
But the Aztecs’ play wasn’t totally flawless. After taking a 10-3 lead on a flustered Indians squad in the third set, Palm Springs took advantage of three-straight Palm Desert out-of-bounds hits, and Sasha Sedigh completed the comeback with an ace to knot things at 10-all.
The Aztecs again would take a small lead and faced five-straight match points, but the senior Asia O’Neil kept the Indians fighting with a spike and strong play around the net to help the Indians tie things at 24-all.
In the end, the Aztecs just had a little more fight.
“Today we didn’t play our best, and I think we made a lot of little mistakes, but for a lot of these kids, this was one of their first big matches,” Willis said. “But I think what people saw tonight was a glimpse of how good we really are.”
Asia O’Neil: 9 kills, 20 digs
Ashtyn Lyneis: 34 assists, 14 digs
Morgan Dewyer: 33 assists, 11 digs, 2 blocks, 6 kills
Serena Stockton: 19 digs
Maggie Welsh: 12 digs, 4 aces
Tara Sauerbrey: 15 kills
Kacey Johnson: 15 digs