Bret Harte really needed a night like it had Thursday. The Bullfrogs had dropped four straight matches, with two of them being decided in the final set. So, with the beginning of Mother Lode League play starting Thursday, Bret Harte needed to correct its path and possibly pick up a win that wouldn't go five sets.
The Bullfrogs got exactly what the doctor ordered. Bret Harte beat the Summerville Bears in three sets (25-17, 25-22 and 25-14) Thursday night in Angels Camp.
“It’s the first league game of the year and it’s huge,” Bret Harte head coach Jacey Porovich said. “It’s exactly what we hoped for coming into league and hopefully we made a mark.”
On Tuesday, Bret Harte lost on the road to Liberty Ranch in five sets. Even though the Bullfrogs had gone without a win since Aug. 24, the players realized that the preseason is meant for working out all the kinks.
“I think that everything was a learning process and we were learning what worked and what didn’t work,” senior Gabi Hutchens said.
What worked against Summerville was the serving of junior Emma Lane. In the opening set, Lane recorded eight aces and was on the serving line for eight consecutive points. When Lane began serving midway through the opening set, everything was tied up 16-16. When she left the line, the Bullfrogs were up 24-16.
“It’s huge when we can get her to stay at the line back there, because her serve is so aggressive, it’s like a line drive coming right at you,” Porovich said. “If there is any second guess when you are the passer, it’s not going to work. We try to work hard with our rotation to keep her back there. You could tell that she was on and feeling good back there.”
After taking the first set 25-17, the second set was much closer. Hutches got the set rolling with a powerful kill and junior Bianca Rael followed with an ace. Behind kills from Lane, Hailey Callahan and Hutchens, the Bullfrogs padded their lead to 16-10, but the Bears ended up cutting that lead to 20-16. However, following a kill and ace from Lane, Bret Harte got the separation it needed. The junior duo of Mikenna Grotto and Jaden Arias recorded kills to end the set and give Bret Harte a 25-22 win.
The Bullfrogs pounded Summerville offensively in the third set, as Hutchens, Arias, Grotto and Eden Strauch all recorded kills. Bret Harte had no problem passing the ball, which resulted in point after point.
“We connected well with our setter and we were smart with our attacks,” Hutchens said about Bret Harte’s third set, which ended in a 25-14 win.
Lane finished the night with 13 aces and five kills; Grotto had 10 kills; Hutchens had 17 digs and six kills; Katrina Swift had 12 assists; and Jaycee Kirk had eight assists in the win.
Bret Harte (3-5, 1-0 MLL) will next face Amador at 6 p.m., Sept. 19 in Sutter Creek.
“It feels good to get this first league win out of the way and I hope we continue to play this way,” Arias said.
Bret Harte’s JV team beat Summerville in two sets (25-12, 25-8) Thursday night in Angels Camp. Jacey Davey had two aces and eight digs; Sommer Good had 16 sets and five assists; and Allyson Stoy had three kills on six attacks with one block.
Bret Harte beat Summerville 25-14 and 25-5 Thursday afternoon.