VOLLEYBALL: Hounds fall to Eagles

© 2018-Atascadero News

Still second in PAC 8 league

ATASCADERO — The Greyhounds hosted the Eagles of Arroyo Grande last Thursday for the biggest game of the year thus far. AG and Atascadero entered the game tied atop the PAC 8, both being undefeated in league. On the Monday before the game the CIF Southern Section released its most recent rankings and the Eagles came in at number seven in Division 3, and played like a top ranked team Thursday, defeating the Hounds in straight sets 17-25, 20-25, 15-25.

The Eagles team looked strong in all facets of the game — defensively their height made it difficult for the Greyhounds outside hitters to be effective and seemed to make them start questioning their shots after being blocked multiple times. Many of the AG players hit powerful, precise serves that kept the Greyhounds offense out of sync the entire night.

Halfway through the season, it looks as if Atascadero and AG are the two top teams in the league and the Greyhounds will get another shot at the Eagles this season, but this time on the road. Atascadero will play the Eagles in their last game of the season on Oct. 24. If the Eagles falter before the showdown the game could very well be for the PAC 8 league title.

While the Eagles won in straight sets, the Greyhounds fought until the very end and each game was close. A few runs compounded by mental lapses in each game gave the Eagles the edge in the end. The first game went back and forth, being tied at one, three, four, five, six, and seven with Atascadero taking the lead after a great Taylor Degnan ace after being tied at five apiece. Atascadero Head Coach Rachel Coons took her first time out down 9-14 in the first game but after a great block by Mackenzie Wright the Hounds surrendered three straight points, extending the gap to seven points and were never able to make up the ground.

The Hounds came out energized and determined in the second set, but uncharacteristic errors such as serving into the net and inexplicably miss-hitting balls they generally pulverize let the Eagles go on a six point run and led early 2-8. Atascadero fought back, only losing the set by five points even though they trailed by as many as nine. After Atascadero fought off their first game point, Stephanie Monson rose up to record a fantastic block bringing the score to 19-24 and hope began to fill the gym as Abby Wright went back to serve.

The Hounds have made several runs with Wright at the end line, and with AG silent and their girls chirping at each other to “c’mon” it seemed Atascadero had a chance to do something special. The Hounds scored again bringing the score to 20-24 and the largely quiet, lethargic crowd was ready to explode. However, the Eagles were able to score on the next point, sucking the life out of the arena, and taking a commanding two games to zero lead.

Taylor Degnan and Kylee Degnan led the Hounds on Thursday. Taylor finished the game with 14 kills and four digs while Kylee had 23 assists and 11 digs of her own. The loss brings the Greyhounds season record to 12-10, but are 7-1 in league play.

The Hounds will host the San Luis Obispo Tigers on Tuesday and will travel to Righetti on Thursday.

© 2018-Atascadero News

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