Spivey proud of team’s overall growth during season despite playoff loss

Glendale — Behind a season filled with immense growth, the Mountain View Marana Mountain Lions boys volleyball team saw its season come to a conclusion on Friday evening in the playoffs. Taking on the No. 7 Ironwood Eagles on the road, the No. 10 Mountain Lions couldn’t pull off an upset, falling 3-0 and bringing an end to the season. 

Despite feeling crushed over the ending to the season, coach Lindsey Spivey was still beaming with pride over the strides of improvement made throughout the season, nothing they were almost like a different team. 

“From where this team started until this point, we are leaps and bounds better,” Spivey said. “We went from being mentally weak to being able to just shrug off a mistake and move on to the next point, and that is very hard for teams to do.”

The Mountain Lions got off to a strong start in set one, battling back and forth with Ironwood over who would break out to take the first significant lead. After being tied at 7, Mountain View was able to go on a bit of a run and break out to a 14-10 lead and force Ironwood to call a timeout. 

Using the time to regroup and reset, the Eagles proceeded to go on a 5-0 run to take the lead. From there, Ironwood was able to continue building the lead by dialing up the intensity of its attack. After grabbing onto the lead, Ironwood maintained control to take the first set 25-20. 

Set two saw both teams neck and neck from the start once again, as the Mountain Lions were grinding away in hopes of taking back some of the momentum. However, Ironwood wasn’t going to back down easily, and the two continued to battle for a chance to break free.

Knotted up at 14, an ace on a serve set up Ironwood for a chance to break away, climbing out to a 21-14 lead as the Mountain Lions struggled to answer. Bringing an end to set two and putting Mountain View in a must-win situation, the Eagles took set two 25-16.

With their backs against the wall, the Mountain Lions were ready to fight against the adversity. Keeping things tied up early, Mountain View was eventually able to work its way to a 16-12 lead and force Ironwood to call a timeout. Continuing the run coming out of the break, the Mountain Lions eventually were able to jump out to a 20-13 lead over the Eagles. 

“We talk a lot in practice about stopping runs and then going on them ourselves, so I definitely think that’s going to haunt their dreams for a while,” Spivey said. 

Just as it seemed Mountain View was going to take the set, the Eagles came flying back into the game to tie things up at 22. With the intensity dialed all the way up, it all came down to these final minutes. Eager to close things out, Ironwood powered through to take the next three consecutive points and close out the night with a 3-0 sweep. 

“This was one of the better teams we’ve gone up against,” Spivey said. “We prepared in every way that we could for those serves and for those big attackers, but we’re also kind of a small team. We have to prepare mentally on top of preparing physically.”

It was a tough loss for Spivey, who’s saying goodbye to the six seniors on the team. Of the six seniors, two have received scholarships to continue their athletic careers, an endeavor she’s thrilled to see unfold. 

Spivey says the seniors have done a phenomenal job in leadership roles and despite their departure, she’s confident the underclassmen on the team have absorbed what they learned from them over time. 

“Those ones coming up are so eager, and they’re so hungry for more,” Spivey said. “They have really good leaders in these seniors, and that’s one thing that I’ll really miss.”

Spivey says her returning players are all eager to continue growing both their volleyball IQ and their skill sets, and she’s excited to see how they continue progressing in the offseason. 

“Gym time, it’s tough to get it at our gym but I’m excited to get back in there,” Spivey said.

Brittany Bowyer is a freelance journalist who started her career as an intern for a small sports website back in 2015. Since then, she’s obtained her master’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and is in her fourth year of covering various levels of sports across a broad range of platforms in Arizona. You can follow her on twitter @LittWithBritt

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