SHS started off this rivalry game in a very auspicious manner as the Top was looking at an 8-1 deficit forcing Coach Ross into an early time-out. Although the time-out settled the troops, Summit still needed to get a run going to cut into the lead. Down 10-3, Emily Demm rattled off a few aces in a 4-0 run that got the Maroon and White within striking distance at 10-7. Cranford could not shake SHS and while still trailing 12-9, Summit turned to Abby Wells and the junior responded with a 5 point service run that allowed the Hilltoppers to pull even with the Cougars by the end of the first 6 rotations at 14-14. The next 6 rotations were nail biters! Summit jumped ahead 19-17 just to see Cranford go ahead 20-19. SHS goes ahead 21-20 but Cranford responds and take charge, going ahead 22-21. The Top broke serve to knot up the score at 22 but Cranford broke right back for a 23-22 lead and followed up with an ace to earn 2 match points with the serve. But the young JV did not falter and after breaking serve and staving off one match point, it was Wells who pulled the Hilltoppers to victory with 3 crucial, pressure filled serves to seal set 1 26-24.
Set 2 was the Cougar comeback as Cranford took the set 25-21, coming back from 7-1 and 11-2 deficits thanks to Demm and Wells again. But this time, the Hilltoppers were the ones that faltered and after taking the lead 16-12 after rotation 6, the Top was unable to handle the Cougar serving attack and a 3-0 run (2 aces) had Cranford and SHS knotted up at 16. Neither team was able to do much for the next few rotations and unsurprisingly both squads were knotted up at 21 after 9 rotations. But the Cougars stepped up their service again and ended the Hilltoppers on a 3-0 run for the 25-21 win.
The deciding set had the Cougars loving their chances for an upset but the Hilltoppers fixed their receive woes of the 2nd set and were efficiently lethal in their service game which led to a very productive offense. Demm again was the catalyst as the sophomore ran off 5 service points (2 aces) to force a Cranford time-out at 9-2 and added 2 more points after the TO to give Summit the early advantage through only 3 rotations at 11-3. With the recent memory of the 2nd set and giving up the big lead, SHS needed to focus on their receiving game and so they did, not allowing the Cougars to go on any runs, allowing Summit to hold a 17-6 lead through 6 rotations. To the Cougar’s credit, the squad did not give up and managed one rotation that had Summit a bit rattled after a 5-0 run which forced Coach Ross to call a time-out as the Top saw Cranford whittle the Hilltoppers lead down to 17-11. After a service break by Summit (18-11), Emily Griffith gave SHS some breathing room and the near certainty of a win with 2 huge serves (1 ace) that had the Maroon and White back up 20-11. The rest of the set was merely an academic exercise as the Hilltoppers played even with their rivals and closed out the set for their first win, 25-17.