There was no question Stockdale's volleyball team was better Tuesday night when it was backed into a corner.
The Mustangs beat Tehachapi in five games at home, fighting off two match points in the fifth game on a night of furious rallies and close games. The final score: 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14.
"We work on things like that in practice," junior libero Tatum Collatz said. "Those under-pressure situations are very nerve-racking, but you've got to stay composed."
Stockdale (10-5) did, scoring the match's final four points on two Tehachapi errors, an ace from Lynnette Pola and a block by Toria Siemens and Lauren Cline.
This after the Mustangs fought off a 23-21 deficit to win Game 1 and nearly came back from 24-17 down in Game 4 before losing 25-23.
"Well, it's nice to know we can do that," Stockdale coach Maria Collatz said. "That's definitely a quality a coach wants in her team. But it's not exactly a situation we're striving for, either."
Stockdale won the big points with defense, and that was fitting. Up against Destiny Julye and a powerful Warriors front row, the Mustangs needed some big plays just to keep many points alive.
"It had to start with defense today," Maria Collatz said. "I kept saying in timeouts, 'Block, you guys have got to take something away so our back row can work around you.'"
Tatum Collatz finished with an astounding 57 digs, many of them coming after Julye sent a rocket her way.
"It feels good," she said. "It's tough, but we just tried to put up a strong block and play around that. We've been working hard in practice on that, so this is good."
Julye finished with 18 kills, all in the first four games.
"Destiny is such a great player that we had to be realistic," Maria Collatz said. "We knew she was going to get her kills. We just had to stop her from going above and beyond."
Layne Dillingham had 22 kills and Lauren Cline 17 to lead Stockdale, which avenged a close loss to Tehachapi last month in a best-of-three match.
Elayna Cramer had 17 kills for the Warriors (14-2), whose only other loss came to Clovis in a tournament match.
Stockdale made it happen with defense and a knack for winning the points that mattered most.
"This means a great deal," Maria Collatz said. "Tehachapi is a phenomenal team this year, so this is a good moment for us. We should be happy."