Makayla Castro finished with a triple-double and the Scottsbluff volleyball team dug deep to register a four-set win over Alliance 25-22, 14-25, 27-25, 25-19 Thursday at Scottsbluff High School.
Castro hammered home 13 kills, and finished with 10 digs and 12 points, including the last five points of the match, including the match winner, an ace serve down the basket referee's line.
Kenna Hubbard, who is in her first year as head coach for the Bearcats, couldn't have been more elated with how her team fought to get the win.
“It is great to see some fight in our girls. They came out with some intensity tonight and that was great to see,” Hubbard said. “Once we got our nerves and jitters out of the way, we started to relax and we really started to swing. It showed because our hitters did a great job tonight.”
Scottsbluff definitely had a plethora of hitters come up big in the match. Castro was the main gun, but Kelly Wentz, a sophomore, came through with nine kills. Sophomore Aly Camacho added five kills, while Chesney Walker had four kills.
“Makayla is a very smart player with a lot of experience,” Hubbard said of Castro. “She really stepped it up for us tonight.”
Alliance coach Hope Gillaspy said her team just made too many mistakes. The Bulldogs had 13 missed serves in the match.
“Their skills are there, but I think they came into this game thinking that it was going to be given to them and they weren't ready to work for it,” Gillaspy said. “They have to come in with the attitude that they have to work for it every time instead of given the points.”
Alliance has plenty of talent as Gabby Conley finished with 13 kills, while Kennedy Cyza had nine kills and 11 points. Caitlyn Tritle also chipped in 19 points and three kills, while Margaret Otto had 11 digs, and Mickenzie Brennen had 12 digs.
There were two turning points in the contest for Alliance. In the opening set, Scottsbluff grabbed a 5-1 lead behind the serving of Castro, but Tritle went on a nine-point scoring run to put Alliance up 11-5. The Bulldogs then led 15-10 before Scottsbluff's Kelly Wentz served up five points for a 19-17, going on to win the first set 25-22.
The second set was all Alliance as Cyza six service points to give the Bulldogs an 11-2 lead. Moments later, Otto had a kill and three points to push the lead to 16-5 and Alliance cruised to the 25-14 lead off a kill from Tritle.
Alliance stayed strong early in game three, holding a 17-12 lead on a Madison Reiber kill. The Bulldogs went to 22-18 before a missed serve turned the ball over to Scottsbluff. SteaVen Becker had two service points and Walker later tied the game at 23-23 on a point.
The Bulldogs, though, took a 25-24 led on a Tabitha Unzicker kill. Scottsbluff stayed focused and Castro tied the set at 25-25 and Savannah Menghini served the final two points with the set winner coming from the powerful right arm of Castro 27-25.
The fourth set was a set of service runs. Alliance took a 6-5 lead after Tritle ran off three points. Scottsbluff came back to grab an 11-7 lead on two Walker points only to watch Alliance come back with five points from Conley for a 12-11 lead.
A missed serve tied the set up and Amy Colburn served four points for a 16-12 lead. Scottsbluff led 20-14 before Alliance cut the lead to 20-19 on four points from Emily Jensen. Once again, Castro pounded home a side-out kill and then served the final four points for the match.
Scottsbluff had plenty of players that stepped up after Castro. Kyra Willats finished with 15 set assists, three kills, and seven points; Walker had 14 set assists and five points; Kelly Wentz had nine kills and five points; Camacho had five kills and two solo blocks; Colburn had six digs and four points; and Menghini had 13 digs and nine points.
Alliance will be back in action Tuesday when they have Chadron on Tuesday, while Scottsbluff will compete in the Gillette, Wyo., tournament today and Saturday.
“We leave bright and early tomorrow morning and ending tonight with a win is a huge boost going into this weekend,” Hubbard said. “I was excited to see their fight. We still have some things to work on, but it was a good start for us.”