Ponderosa won the first two sets in its Continental League match Sept. 12 against Legend, but Mustangs coach Rob Graham couldn't prevent his thoughts from drifting back to last season.
The Mustangs won 25-21 and 25-13 in the first two games and prevailed 25-22 in the third set to leave the Legend gym with a 3-0 victory.
“We played really good in the first and second games but in the third game we had way too many mental errors,” said Graham. “I think maybe we were satisfied with our level of play.
“Last year they came to our place and they (beat) us the first two games but we won the next three. That's what I slowly saw happening, beating them twice and then in the third game we let down. But you know what? They made good plays at the end when it mattered.”
The win gave the Mustangs, a Class 4A team, a 2-0 record in Continental League play while the Titans fell to 1-1.
“It was kind of a balanced effort,” said Graham. “No one player shined for us. Everybody did well in what we needed them to do. It was just a nice team effort.
“It was a big win for the girls. Obviously, Legend is a huge rival. It was also big because every time we win a league game it gets us that much closer to challenging for the league championship. Playing this level night in and night out preps us for the end of the season.”
Ponderosa played at Heritage in a Continental League match Sept. 17 and will host Littleton Sept. 19. Legend played at Littleton Sept. 17 before a match against ThunderRidge Sept. 19.
Senior Allison Smith had 14 kills in the three sets against Legend, Marisa Gibbons led the team with four blocks, Ellise Lech had 13 digs and Becca Page had 25 assists for the Mustangs.
“I feel like we're coming together as a team,” said Smith. “We really weren't used to playing together as a team because we had a lot of new varsity players so we are a new team. We just love playing together and we're going to be a great team this year.”
Legend is a rebuilding team and learning what it takes to win.
“With graduating the five seniors that we did last year, we lost a lot of talent and leadership,” said Legend coach Katie Winsor. “But what is great is we are really big and physical this year. We probably have more power hitting than we have ever had. We are fairly young in a lot of positions. We have some great senior leadership but in terms of depth a lot of the kids we rely on a great deal are sophomores.
“We've had a lot of tough competition. We are playing better. We played fairly reserved against Ponderosa. Ponderosa played great, obviously. We need to get that game-competition maturity.”
Nikki Kennedy had six kills, Meg Housholder 18 digs and Sophie Brennan 17 assists to lead the Titans.