FARMINGTON – Protecting early leads has been problematic on occasion for the Farmington volleyball team, proving especially costly in sets decided by narrow margins.
The Knights showed signs of progress throughout a dominant first game on Tuesday, then pulled off a remarkable hustling play late to secure a 25-13, 26-24 victory over De Soto.
Emma Gerstner and Alyssa Wilson served 6-0 scoring streaks, and senior middle hitter Lauren Bishop provided four blocks as Farmington (4-11-3) snapped a four-match slide.
The second game seemed on course for a comfortable final margin when libero Bridget Bone alertly covered a block in front of the 10-foot line and Gerstner spiked off a block for a 21-16 lead.
But the visiting Dragons applied pressure by erasing that deficit. Taylor Jones recorded three kills and Kamryn Pehle added another in a span of four points to make it 23-23.
Gerstner terminated again for the Knights, but De Soto survived the initial match point on a clever dink by Emma Portell after Jade Roth had rejected two previous attacks.
Farmington moved ahead for good on a sensational rally while scrambling to save a backward bump after De Soto executed a double block.
Bone raced in desperation to retrieve it before sliding to a stop near the first row of seats beyond the sideline. Gerstner reacted nearby in time to blindly steer the third contact over her shoulder.
The ball narrowly cleared the net – perhaps catching the Dragons in moment of disbelief – and was immediately misplayed out of bounds to their dismay.
The ensuing serve was shanked, and De Soto failed to return amid confusion as the ball landed between two players to end the match.
Wilson and Roth accounted for six kills each, and Bone provided 14 digs in the win. Sophie Pullen distributed a team-high 11 assists, and Riley Wade chipped in four digs.
Pehle shined in game two with six of her eight kills for the Dragons. Jones collected four kills, Haley Johnson made seven digs and Portell finished with three blocks.
Wilson delivered a pivotal rotation across the front with several effective swings, and Abbi Cassimatis joined Roth for a double block as Farmington pushed a narrow 10-9 edge to 19-10.
De Soto used consecutive stuffs by Portell and Abby Pope to take the next three points. But Bishop tapped down two overpass kills, and Wilson served two aces to punctuate the set.
The Dragons registered 13 kills during a much better performance in game two, but still handed back some points on passing and hitting errors.
The stanza was squared 10 times, including at 14-14. Lauren Obenauer used a softer placement attack to obtain that tie-breaking point, and Roth landed a spike near the back line as the Knights created modest distance.