Viera High volleyball falls to Rockledge
Viera High junior Cailea Gibbs (left, white headband) encourages her teammates during the Hawks' big match against Rockledge.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
It had everything the Viera High volleyball team could have asked for – a packed house, an electric atmosphere and an entertaining contest against a big rival.
The only thing missing from the first match in the program’s history to be televised as the Bright House Sports Network’s Game of the Week was the result.
In a night of momentum swings, the pendulum went Rockledge’s way as the Raiders handed Viera (3-1) its first defeat of the season 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 12-25, 15-3.
“We didn’t finish, that’s all,” said Hawks coach Sarah Wayne. “We just forgot the important, fundamental parts of volleyball, which is serving and passing … we just didn’t take care of the ball.”
After dropping the opening game, Viera raced out to a 10-3 lead in the second game and closed it out on a kill by Danee Smith that so excited the Hawks, Smith was carried off the floor by teammate Cailea Gibbs.
Rockledge would answer back, dominating the third game only to have Viera take back control of the match to force a deciding final game.
The Raiders won seven of the first eight points and the Hawks could not play their way back into the match.
Gibbs had a big night with 15 kills, five blocks and 16 digs. Kendall Mall had eight kills and 10 digs. Lina Ruiz had 20 assists, five digs and four aces. Fellow setter Nina Alvarez had 14 assists, seven digs and four aces. Marisol Murray led the Hawks with 24 digs.
As with any early-season match, Wayne saw Wednesday’s matchup as a chance for her team to learn a valuable lesson.
“Every team has to go through every type of match,” she said. “… So you have everything to pull from when it comes to the end of the season, so nothing is a surprise.”
The ending might not have been what the Hawks wanted, but considering the atmosphere in the gym, it was certainly a night to remember.
“That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Wayne said. “These girls get to play in front of a big crowd, (against) a cross-town rival and be on TV. That’s a pretty cool thing.”