As volleyball matches go, Tuesday night was the perfect storm, and not in a good way for Stockdale: The Mustangs didn't play well against a very good Clovis-Buchanan team, and they weren't prepared for a couple of strategic wrinkles the Bears threw at them.
"I couldn't pinpoint it down to one thing, that's for sure," said Stockdale coach Maria Collatz after her team lost 25-18, 25-16, 25-17 to Buchanan, which is No. 2 in the BVarsity Central Section rankings. "Give a lot of credit to Buchanan, they're a very good team, but we didn't play well, either."
For one thing, No. 7 Stockdale (11-3), normally a strong serving team, didn't have a single ace. That was a product of superior Buchanan defense but also sloppy serving.
Then there was Buchanan setter Mikayla Weiss, whose aggressive tendencies at the net – meaning she could dump the ball over instead of passing it at any time – made Stockdale commit an extra defender to her.
"Our block was held up with their setter," Collatz said. "She could put it down, and it just kind of flustered us."
Weiss finished with 27 assists and 9 kills. Kennedy Rice had 10 kills to lead the Bears (15-4), and Lexi Pagani had 16 digs and 8 kills.
Maci Haddad led Stockdale with 8 kills. Sydney Richardson made 14 assists and Toni Perier had 13 digs.
The first two sets were close, tied at 10-10 and 9-9, respectively. But both times Buchanan went on big runs to seize control.
The third set was worse for Stockdale. A series of Mustangs errors and defensive lapses allowed Buchanan to race to a 16-6 lead, and Stockdale never got closer than seven points after that.
"We never anticipate having this bad of a match, but it happens," Collatz said. "We'll talk about it tomorrow and move on."
Collatz said she's still confident her team will be a championship contender in the Southwest Yosemite League and the Division I playoffs.
"I totally believe in my team," she said. "This wasn't our night, but we're gonna be completely fine."