It didn't come easy and it didn't come fast, but the Peetz Bulldogs eventually wore down Haxtun to win their opening volleyball match of the season in five games at Carlile Gymnasim Tuesday night.
Peetz dropped their first two games 25-22 and 25-17 before roaring back to win the final three battles 25-19, 25-18 and 15-6.
"I think we started out with a lot of nerves," said senior Morgan Burns. "Once we got in the rhythm we starting working well together.
"After losing the first two games I was a little worried to be honest. But I never lost faith in us as a team," she conclued.
In the first two games, Peetz fell behind early and were not able to close any serious ground despite several good runs. While the home team also drifted briefly in game three, the tide turned for good once they smelled the lead.
With Junior Jessica Uhl serving, Peetz transformed a 5-6 deficit into an 11-6 advantage. The Bulldogs never again trailed in game three. In fact the home side were never again behind in any of the remaining games.
"When we started to get points our toughness really showed through," said Peetz Head Coach Lori Heller. "We had some really strong performances in the final three games once we got going."
Sophomore Mikenna Curlee and Burns proved very strong at the net with 15 and 11 kills respectively. The pair were also tough defensively as they led the team in blocks. Burns stopped four while Curlee turned back three.
The Bulldogs were also helped by some strong serving performances by several players.
Uhl served at nearly 95 percent and led the team in service points with 11. Melissa and Jodi Schumacher were on the serve line for 10 points each while Caitlynn Peetz, Mallori Bjerke and Burns saw the team through nine points apiece.
"We started the match out not communicating very well," said Peetz. "But we're a really tough team that performs really well under pressure. We talked about that between games two and three and we rose to the occassion."
Peetz was a force defensively as well. She led the team with 22 digs. Melissa Schumacher had 14 and her sister Jodi had nine. Setter Jodi Schumacher was tops for Peetz in assists with 21 while Uhl added 20. Though that pair was strong, it's an area where Heller thinks the team can improve.
"We have to work on our setting and that's what we're going to do in practice," said Heller. "When we get good sets we can get amazing kills and we had some tonight in the latter games."
The Bulldogs are back in action Thursday when they travel to Weldona to face Weldon Valley for a 5:30 p.m. start.