But it never got too big for the Summerville Bears and Shiloh Plaster.
In an epic back-and-forth final set that went into extra points, the senior leaped into the air and hammered the match-kill off an assist from Breann Robinson in Set 4 to edge the Calaveras Redskins 3-1 (26-24, 15-25, 25-21, 29-27) on Tuesday in a Mother Lode League battle in Tuolumne.
“That was the most exciting ending of a game that I have ever played in my life,” Robinson said. “Right after I set the ball, I was just hoping Shiloh would get it in. I had confidence in her, so I set her up on purpose. She’s one of our most reliable players.”
The Bears won Set 1 when the Redskins couldn’t return a Robinson serve.
With an outright MLL title on the line, Calaveras came charging back in Set 2.
Senior Samantha Baseman and Haley Gonsalvez were exceptional serving the ball, going 12 of 12 to lead the Redskins. Baseman hammered four kills in the onslaught.
“We played very tough,” Baseman said. “I’m proud of our team. We could have picked it up a little bit, but we played our hardest. That’s all that we can do. But Summerville played amazing, it was a fun game.”
Led by Summerville seniors Annie Abenth, Nikki Christie, Caitie Egger, Plaster, Camilla Richardson and Robinson, the Bears were not going to be denied of a victory on senior night.
In Set 3, after a 12-12 deadlock, Summerville pulled away as Robinson controlled the possession with timely assists that led to six team kills. For the game, she set a perfect 93 of 93 with 40 assists.
While playing the lone setting role in the offense, Robinson also finished with 14 kills. She also served 20 for 20 to lead the Bears.
Shiloh Plaster served 17 of 17, Kayla Brick 15 of 15 and Nikki Christie 13 of 13.
Egger blasted a team-best 15 kills and Christie added 14. Katie Freeman recorded 13 blocks. Brick generated 25 digs, and Christie had 18 and Plaster 14.
It was a complete team performance that impressed Bears first-year head coach Greg Harford.
“We were able to play almost error free at the end,” Harford said. “That was the difference. It was also the best that we’ve played all year long. We played in spurts during the course of the season, but to have all the parts come together against a quality team that is going to win league is really satisfying.”
Calaveras’ Rebecca Conley led the team with 12 kills. With two games left in the MLL season, the Redskins can clinch the program’s first outright league championship since 1985 when they host Argonaut on Halloween at 7 p.m. in San Andreas.
“Thursday night’s a big one for us,” Calaveras head coach Kristy Dwyer said. “If we win, there’s going to be a big celebration.”