At a time when it would have been easy to come unraveled, the Liberty High volleyball team remained calm and composed.
After dropping a tight first game to visiting Clovis West on Thursday night, the Patriots proved to be unflappable, rallying for a hard-fought 25-27, 25-14, 25-23, 25-20 non-league victory.
"I'm obviously excited about the outcome," Liberty coach Lean Slayton said. "I'm excited about the way we were able to come back and be composed after a little bit of a rocky start. We had a lot of nerves coming out ... But I'm really proud of them and the way they pulled together."
Haylee Roberts had 22 kills, five blocks and two aces, and Kiki Robinson added 17 kills, 26 assists and eight digs for Liberty (14-2). The pair was pivotal as Liberty got even and then pulled ahead by winning the second and third games.
Down 13-12 in the second game, Robinson had three kills and an assist to spur a 13-1 Liberty run that caused the Golden Eagles (8-3) to wilt.
It was Roberts that keyed the Patriots' third-game win. The 6-foot-3 senior had nine points in the game, including a hard spike off a set by Robinson that gave Liberty a 24-23 lead. Roberts then served the final point of the game, which came on a four-hits violation by Clovis West.
"It was just really good," Roberts said of the match. "We came together as a team, but I still don't think we've peaked yet. We still have so much more to learn and grow. The best thing about this season is we just get to keep going."
McKenzie Jacobsen led Clovis West with 13 kills. Katie Dunbar-Lowe chipped in 12 kills and three blocks for the Golden Eagles, who rallied from a 22-16 deficit to tie Game 3 before Roberts' late heroics saved Liberty.
Clovis West also rallied from down 11-4 in the fourth game to knot things up at 17-17. But Liberty kept its composure and scored six of the next seven points to pull away and clinch a victory in its home opener.
The loss is the second in a row for Clovis West, which lost to North Hollywood-Harvard-Westlake on Saturday.
"I wasn't so much worried about the result," Clovis West coach Rhonda DeRuiter said. "I was worried about how hard we were going to come out and play. And we played very hard. We battled. I was very pleased with their effort."
It was Liberty that played catch-up in the first game.
Trailing 19-16, the Patriots drew even at 2.
However, a kill by the 6-foot-6 Jacobsen and an ace from Taylor Ferdinandsen allowed the Golden Eagles to escape with a tough win.
That didn't rattle Liberty.
"Obviously that's not the way you want to start a match like this," Slayton said. "But when you're playing a great team you expect to go four or five (games). You know it's not going to be easy. You just have to buckle-down."