The scoreboard read 14-10 in Holbrook’s favor when sophomore Rachel Fitzgerald stepped up to the service line.
The Lady Roadrunners were just one point away from grabbing a season-opening victory on the road at Williams. But the Lady Vikings would not be beaten by the 3A school.
Players up and down the roster all contributed in the victory. Fitzgerald was in the spotlight at the end, serving for six straight points to help Williams take a 15-7, 4-15, 16-14 win.
“I told her to just get it over the net,” first-year Williams coach Ken Edes said. “She said, ‘I want to hit it hard.’ Rachel really gets into the game.”
Williams dominated the first game of the match with an eight-point advantage but then ran into a wall in the second game. That set up the pivotal third game. The Roadrunners held leads of 9-1 and 13-5 and appeared to have the win wrapped up.
The Vikings cut the deficit to 13-10 with five straight points. Sheena Lann was serving during that stretch and Holbrook had trouble handling the junior’s serves.
The Roadrunners finally broke serve and scored a point for the 14-10 lead. With Fitzgerald serving, Williams cut it to 14-11 on a well-placed dink by senior Melissa Pettit.
Two straight Holbrook hits went into the net and a third one went long as Williams tied the game.
Senior Ali Erickson then took over on the final two points. Erickson had kill spikes on the 15th and 16th points and the girls found themselves with a 1-0 record to start the season.
“We’ve got some talent here,” Edes said of his team. “I think the thing that will help us (in the future) is communicating.”
Edes, a winner in his first-ever match as a volleyball coach, gave credit to former coach Connie Stevens for laying the foundation for this year’s club
Williams won the first game rather easily, leading 10-3 at one time and taking the game 15-7. Starting the season on the court were seniors Pettit, Erickson and Sunshine Fitzgerald, junior Lann and sophomores Lyssa Mulvihill and Rachel Fitzgerald.
The first play of the season was a good serve by Lann that Holbrook could not return. Erickson served for three straight points, one an ace, for a 4-1 WHS lead.
Later, leading 5-3, the Vikes reeled off five straight points with Pettit and Mulvihill serving. The majority of those points were the Roadrunners hitting the ball out.
Williams won the first game after a rally when Mulvihill dinked the ball into the right spot.
Holbrook countered to win the second game. Leading 7-4, the Roadrunners scored eight straight points while the Vikes appeared to struggle with communication on the court, not uncommon for a first match.
In the third game, Holbrook continued its momentum by scoring nine of the first 10 points. The Lady Vikes cut the lead down to 9-4 with Pettit serving. Lann and Mulvihill had hits for points in that stretch.
Holbrook came right back with three more points and WHS made it 12-5 with Mulvihill serving before the exciting, final stretch.
Williams (0-0 in region, 1-0 overall) were scheduled to play Tuesday at home vs. Camp Verde. Results were not available by presstime.
The team was originally scheduled to play in the Joseph City Invitational on Saturday, but that tournament was rescheduled for Sept. 23. The next WHS match will be Sept. 15 at home vs. the Laughlin, the third of five straight home matches to open the season.
Other changes to the schedule include a Sept. 16 match at home vs. Peach Springs, a single match Sept. 21 match at home vs. Seligman and a Sept. 30 match at Grand Canyon, which had previously been incorrect on the schedule as being at home.