Linden’s only loss in the season so far was to the Hilltoppers. Summit was looking to hand the #1 team in the Mountain Division their second loss and get themselves into the division title picture with the win.
Varsity was just off from the beginning. Even though the scoreboard read 4-4 in the early stage of set 1, the only point the Top actually scored was a single kill by Vivian Roberts. A series of serving and attacking errors opened the door for the Tigers and they took full advantage of it, going on a 9-3 run that got the scoreboard to show 13-7 and forced an SHS time-out. That TO did not stem the tide long term though as the Hilltoppers suffered through another error filled stretch to see the Linden lead balloon to 18-9.
It was then that the Hilltoppers began to show signs of life. Roberts crushed a kill to the 5 zone and Julia Nardino nailed an ace to the back line to start it all. Despite a service error, Eva Oberhuber got the Top right back on track with a screaming slide kill and another good attack led to a Linden error. Even though the Home Team got control back and pushed the score to 24-14, Summit kept pushing, sensing a change in momentum was occurring. Alison Wauters and Nardino tallied back to back spikes and Rebekah Thompson notched an ace that lifted the Maroon and Gold’s spirits before bowing out 25-18. But hope had again returned and the team FINALLY looked like it had shaken off the long bus ride.
Set 2 saw the Hilltoppers receive serve and the squad continued the momentum they showed in the latter stages of set 1. A Roberts tip kill gave the ball back to the visitors and Hope Basaman continued her torrid ace attack with 2 more points and the visitors had a 5-0 lead to start. The next run happened at 6-3 Summit with a Linden service error that was followed up with a Torie MacArthur ace and another Tiger hitting error forced by her serve. Although the Linden squad broke serve, Oberhuber drove an overpass through the floor, Basaman tallied a line kill, Wauters stuff blocked the Linden MB and Zoe Zacharias hit for an ace which saw the Hilltoppers go on to a commanding 13-4 lead.
Linden answered back with a 7-0 run of their own which had the Top under duress but Wauters got a key out of system kill to give SHS a 14-11 lead and settle the squad down. Wauters hit for another kill and the Top forced the Tiger offense into another error to see Summit re-establish a more comfortable lead at 16-11. A rotation later, Wauters notched another block, Nardino followed suit and Roberts crushed a ball down the line to force a TO by the Linden Coach but the damage was done and the set was seemingly the Top’s with the lead 19-12. Both squads traded points in subsequent rotations and the Hilltoppers closed it out 25-18.
In the decisive third set, SHS would receive serve again to start. Roberts put down the first point off a Sarah Noa pass and the Hilltoppers were on their way. Basaman ripped an ace to follow and the next serve forced the Tigers into a return error. Summit up 3-0. Roberts and Oberhuber notched kills in the next rotation and the Hilltoppers had a 6-3 lead. MacArthur blistered a couple of serves in the next rotation and tallied an ace to push SHS to a 9-3 advantage. Linden responded with a 3-0 run but the Maroon and Black had the lead back up to 5 at 11-6 a rotation later. Another 3 point run by the Tigers pushed the Hilltoppers to respond and Basaman did just that with a powerful kill to zone 1 and then the floodgates opened. Nardino blocked down a Linden attack and Thompson ripped an ace to get the lead up to 5 at 14-9. Nardino and Thompson repeated that same dance again and all of a sudden, SHS led 16-9. Yet again the Tigers came up with a 3-0 run but the Summit offense notched another kill, this time by Nardino, and a Tiger error later, the Hilltoppers were one step closer to a win at 18-12. Roberts took the last bit of hope out of the Linden fans with 2 consecutive kills to force a Linden TO. The junior did not cool off after the time-out and hit for another kill which all but guaranteed a Hilltopper win at 22-13. Linden kept fighting but the lead was too great and the Maroon and Black offense was just creating too many problems. Oberhuber put the exclamation point on the match with an overpass kill to finish the match 25-15.
Record is now 8W-3L.