JEFFERSON — Cassidy Spies was the one that would have needed to turn things around for the Jefferson Eagles.
The Eagles trailed by eight points and a set when she took over service and she helped Jefferson trim the deficit to two points without surrendering her service.
McFarland had a big enough lead and enough of an advantage to hold on for a 21-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-16 victory over the host Eagles in a Rock Valley Conference girls volleyball match on Thursday night.
The Jefferson offense leaned on Spies when it won the first set. The senior hitter had 18 kills and did much of her damage from the back row. In the first set, Spies scored three consecutive points for the Eagles, but it was a block and kill by senior Claire Peachey that gave Jefferson its initial separation from the Spartans before they earned the win.
“I think we had success in the first (set) because we didn’t rely on (her attacks from the back row), but we get a little bit comfortable going to Cassidy because she is our go-to,” Jefferson coach Kaley Jacobson said. “We need to find other people that are going to step up and start making some kills. When we get comfortable and start relying on that back-row attack, we need to start spreading it out so that it’s not just her. She can’t score 75 points on her own.”
The positive for the Eagles is that those players are on the team. Peachey and senior Brooklyn Fritz each are capable of stepping into that role. Peachey was second on the team with nine kills.
It was the first game back in the front row for Fritz, who had surgery on her shoulder in the off-season.
“She’s just trying to find her groove,” Jacobson said. “When she does, I think she’ll be an additional threat and then we need to find some more success in the middle.”
It appeared they had enough offense to take out the visiting Spartans early on in the match, but that faded in midway through the second set. Jefferson had an 11-7 lead when McFarland took a timeout and responded with eight consecutive points. The Spartans took control from there.
“We just lost our consistency,” Jacobson said. “It’s always a serve and pass game. We won it the first set and we lost it the last three. We still served pretty aggressively and overall served better than they did, but our serve receive faltered toward the end of the matches.”
As Jefferson was in the early stages of mounting its comeback in the fourth set, the Eagles gave up two points because of improper rotations. Even though McFarland had a four service errors in the fourth set, the Eagles were unable to overcome the deficit.
“The girls need to have a chip on their shoulders and need to come back out ready to play,” Jacobson said. “I think that (match) will play into the conference standings in the end and we need to take care of business with everybody else that we see and see how it all plays out.”
Jefferson will continue its season at the Middleton Invitational on Saturday at 8 a.m.
McFARLAND 3, JEFFERSON 1
Spartans 21 25 25 25
Eagles 25 21 16 16
Kills — M N. Crull 18; J Spies 18; Blocks — M Hildebrandt 3; J Peachey, Weitzel and Biwer 1. Aces — M Fortune 3; J Spies 3. Assists — J Hernandez 16. Digs — M Eggers 30; J Pa. Biwer, Hernandez 12.