Thursday night's volleyball match between host Bayfield and visiting Farmington got off to a bad start.
On the second point of the game, a ball was served in by Bayfield, and it bounced off of a Farmington Scorpion and careened off of a light fixture, broke it, delayed the game and gave the Wolverines an early 2-0 lead.
Farmington (8-2) bounced back and eventually cruised to a 3-1 victory over Bayfield, with scores of 25-17, 23-25, 25-22 and 25-14.
In the first set, the Wolverines (3-7, 2-2 3A Intermountain League) led 12-11 before the Scorpions (8-2) rattled off six consecutive points to force the Wolverines to call a timeout. The timeout would not make a difference for the Wolverines, though, as they won only five more points in the set. The Wolverines committed six service errors in the set, and more errors would follow.
In the second set, BHS senior outside hitter Jannika Pope was all over the front court, as she made passes and attempted numerous blocks. Pope registered two of her game-high six kills for Bayfield and had a .222 hitting percentage, including the set-clinching point. Despite committing seven more service errors, the Wolverines dug deep and held on for the only set they would win on the night.
Bayfield head coach Terene Foutz said that, despite leveling the game at one set each, the Wolverines did not have enough gas in the tank to come out with a win.
"I think we're growing up," Foutz said. "We have a lot of first-year varsity players, and I think all but one are new to varsity this year. So, even though we have some upperclassmen who are seeing some good court time right now, it's their first time to really pull the cart, so we're learning while we're playing in terms of match maturity, competing under pressure and building point runs."
Foutz said that she was impressed with the Wolverines play in spurts and said they are still looking for their top-two terminal hitters.
"I also thought that our setters have really improved throughout the season," Foutz said. "I thought Tymbree (Florian) and Meghan (Youngblood) did a great job tonight."
In the third set, the Wolverines got off to a an early 8-4 lead and after a back-and-forth set. They pushed it to 19-15 after Tess Heydinger had a cross-court kill. However, the Scorpions stormed all the way back, led by middle hitter JJ Curry, who finished the match with 14 kills on 31 attempts. The Scorpions won nine of the next 13 points and went on a 6-0 run to take the lead for good at 20-19 before they won the set 25-22.
Scorpions' head coach Alana Rowland was impressed with her team's comeback and told them to start playing like they did in the previous practice. It worked.
"Going into that third set, I had to remind them what we did in practice yesterday," Rowland said. "We were a little sleepy at the beginning of the match, and, luckily, we were able to find our groove and were able to see the good team that we are so far thus season.
"I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous in the beginning, thinking, 'Uh oh, are we ready for this?' But it's always fun to come into a gym that has a good, supportive crowd and is good, solid volleyball. I like to see that kind of atmosphere and see how my girls react."
In the final set, Rowland's team reacted and Bayfield ran out of steam quickly. The Scorpions got off to a 7-1 lead and pushed it to 10-3 before Foutz called a timeout. Farmington's outside hitters became a force late while the Wolverines committed hitting errors and net violations that ultimately did them in.
Bayfield sophomore middle hitter Melissa Roberts attacked with a kill efficiency of .416 on the night.
Foutz said she is looking forward to next week's matchup against Durango. That will be played at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bayfield.
"We'd like to have a full roster against Durango next week," Foutz said. "It's a privilege to have them at home, honestly. It's a big homecoming match for us, and I think we just have to dial in on court communication and really focus on making those unforced errors. But given that, we're learning how to respond, and we've got a few days to build on that before Tuesday's match."