Hayden wins again, blasts Vail Mountain | CraigDailyPress.com

Hayden wins again, blasts Vail Mountain

Joel Reichenberger
Hayden junior Jewel Vreeman taps the ball over the net Tuesday against Vail Mountain. The Tigers won the match in three sets, 25-15, 25-22, 25-18.
Joel Reichenberger

Hayden volleyball — 3

Vail Mountain — 0

Hayden volleyball — 3

Vail Mountain — 0

— Playing without Jordan Temple wasn’t part of the plan for the Hayden High School volleyball team.

Temple is the team’s standout senior, one of the best in the county and the region, but Tuesday night, as the Tigers welcomed Vail Mountain to Hayden for a match, Temple was confined to the bench by a sore shoulder.

It wasn’t the plan, but it worked out, and for a young squad that seems to take another big, positive step every time it takes the court, winning in Temple’s absence was a hurdle that, after the three-set victory, the squad found meaning in clearing.

Hayden beat Vail Mountain, 25-15, 25-22, 25-18, winning for the third time in four matches, and the Tigers did it without their best player.

“The girls are getting more confident, and they’re starting to believe in themselves,” coach Dayna Hunter said. “It’s fun to watch. As a coaching staff, we knew it was there. It was a matter of them believing and taking it to the next level.”

Certainly no Tiger replaced Temple, in her fourth year starting with the program. Her teammates did step up in her stead, however.

Junior Kenzie Fry strung together a long stretch of points serving, which lifted Hayden from a 9-9 tie in the third set to a 15-9 lead.

Sophomore Grace Wilkie, who served as setter for much of the night, smoked a kill so hard the gymnasium erupted. Sophomore Darian Murphy scooped a potential Gore Ranger ace off the hardwood and helped send it back the other way.

“We play with a lot of heart in every game, and not everyone sees that,” Fry said. “Lately, we’ve been able to give them the scoreboard and the heart, and that’s really helped us.”

Jewel Vreeman, Jessika Hockett and Brooke Munden were there all night, as well, providing strong swings for a team that didn’t seem capable of such sustained success even with Temple three weeks ago when the season started.

Hayden won its first game of the season a week ago, knocking off West Grand. It added another win Saturday on the road at Vail Mountain, and the win Tuesday inched the team closer to a .500 record, 3-4 now.

No doubt some of that math involves Vail Mountain’s own struggles. The team’s 0-5 on the season and has won just one set. But Tuesday, the Tigers were intent on showing it was as much their own improvement that made the difference as it was any team on the other side of the net.

Temple watched, and she cheered big and loud for every point. Hunter said Temple is hoping to be back on the court soon, though maybe not in time for this weekend’s tournament at Jefferson Academy.

When the Tigers trot out on their home court to face Soroco on Sept. 26, however, they’ll likely do so with more pep in their step than when they lost to the Rams several weeks ago in straight sets.

Part of the reason may be because of Tuesday night, when the Tigers won without their best player.

“It’s a boost to their confidence,” Hunter said. “It was a good thing for them.”

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