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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Young Chargers show promise

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By Brian Forbes

DENVER — When the Chatfield Chargers were good Sept. 3 at Mullen, they were very good.

When the Chargers were young, they were very young.

The junior-dominated Chargers veered through all phases against the Mustangs and ended up learning another of life’s lessons.

"Like any team, we need to figure out how to continue those (good) stretches," Chargers volleyball coach Stephanie Schick said after the Chargers lost in four games. "Because we are lacking a little bit of variety on our offense, that’ s easy for people to pick up on, so we got to move that around."

Chatfield (0-2) relinquished leads in each of the games before dropping the cross-classification nonleague match 25-23, 25-17, 21-25, 25-21.

Junior Ali Longo had 11 kills, 12 assists and one block for the Chargers, while lone senior Alysa Heath had 14 kills, a block and one assist. Sophomore Mary Pollmiller had 14 assists, four kills and three blocks.

When the Chargers clicked, they threw themselves on the floor for digs, set and hit with speed, force and purpose. The Chargers dropped valuable points with service errors and errant passes that the Mustangs were more than happy to pound down.

The Cliff Notes version came in the first game as the Chargers jumped out to an 11-4 lead, only for the Mustangs to call timeout, regroup and cut the deficit to 14-13. The battle raged until Pollmiller’s kill off Longo’s back set put the visitors up 22-21. Then came a service error and two consecutive hitting errors to put the Mustangs up for good.

The second game saw the Mustangs jump first and the Chargers struggle to respond, notching just four kills and two blocks during the 25-17 loss in which they trailed by as many as eight.

The Chargers found a rhythm in the third game as they took over a 9-8 on a kill by Tessa Mauer. The turning point was Longo serving with a 16-14 lead. She hammered three straight service winners off Mullen defenders and got a kill from Heath to take a decisive 20-14 lead.

The fourth game was much like the first. The teams swapped the lead six times and the Chargers couldn’t block Mullen senior Cassie Heringer, who twice went down the line for kills and blocked Pollmiller to put Mullen up for good 20-19.

There was a controversial point given to Mullen to make it 24-21 rather than a hopeful 23-22 for the visitors.

"We have good girls that really do know how to fight," Schick said. "The best part about this team is that they’ve already decided they want to work hard, and they’ve already set their goals."