Volleyball: Chico takes down Alvord, stays unbeaten in 9-2A

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Setting Up a Chance

SETTING UP A CHANCE – Alvord’s Kendall Connolly sets the ball for one of her 22 assists against Chico Saturday. Chico won in four games. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

With the match tied at a set each Saturday with rival Alvord, Chico senior Jessica Byers provided the turning point.

Byers buried three of her match-high 19 kills within three points to start a 10-2 closing run for Chico in the pivotal third set. The Lady Dragons went on to close the match in four games (25-21, 17-25, 25-13, 25-23).

Byers recorded six kills in the third game after a little talk with herself.

“Sometimes you just have to take a second and breathe,” Byers said. “Once I calmed myself down, I told myself, ‘I got this.’ It was easier after I talked myself through it.”

Byers landed five more kills in the fourth game to help Chico close out the match.

“She struggled a little early. I put a lot of pressure on our seniors for leadership,” said Chico coach Jody Carter. “She picked herself up.”

Something to Celebrate

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE – Chico’s Jessica Byers and Macy McDaniel celebrate a point during the victory over Alvord Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Chico (18-2) moved to 3-0 in District 9-2A with the victory.

“It’s pretty nice. It’s been a lot of hard work,” Byers said.

Throughout the match, the Lady Dragons kept swinging. Michaela Martin put down five kills. Six Chico players finished with multiple kills.

“We have to be aggressive,” said Chico coach Jody Carter. “We have to be with every skill.”

Setter Laynee North handed out 22 assists.

Defensively, Alvord held in with the hard-hitting Lady Dragons. Alvord coach Catherine Kelly adjusted her defense to offset the Chico attack.

Abbey Bloomer made 33 digs for the Lady Bulldogs.

“They can hit, but defensively we were on,” Kelly said. “I adjusted our lineup, pulling another defender back. It helped.”

After Kayla Clampitt’s ace gave Chico the first set, Alvord and Kinly Walker wasted little time pulling even. Walker tallied six of her 14 kills in the second set that Alvord won by eight points.

“Kinly had a great match,” Kelly said.

Kendall Connolly handed out 22 assists for Alvord.

Over the final two sets, Chico limited Alvord to just eight kills.

“Our back row was the difference,” Carter said. “Kinly can hit. I’m so proud of our team and the way they played.”

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