Dutch come back, and then fall short

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Digging deep for the Guilderland volleyball team is sophomore Rebecca Straubel, who finished with 13 digs, 10 kills, and seven service points against Saratoga on Monday. The Dutch lost the match in five sets (16-25, 25-16, 8-25, 25-18, and 19-25), but Straubel, who moved to the area from Texas in 2012, had an excellent fourth set to keep Guilderland in the contest.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Surprise! Dutch volleyball player Jessica VanDoren reacts after setting the volleyball on Monday during a home match against Saratoga (8-2). VanDoren, playing her third year on the Guilderland team, had 21 assists and 12 service points on Monday; the Dutch (3-7) lost the match in five sets.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Tight teammates: Mckenzie Smith, right, subs out for the Guilderland volleyball team on Monday, grabbing the hand of teammate Courtney Taylor, who came in to relieve her. The Dutch played Saratoga, losing in five sets, and Smith had six kills.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Hands up: The Guilderland volleyball team fell to 3-7 after a five-set (16-25, 25-16, 8-25, 25-18, and 19-25) loss to Saratoga at home on Monday. Here, Sarah Ruggles, left, and Darina Relyea try to get a block for the Dutch, but the ball flies by them. Ruggles had 15 service points and seven digs.

GUILDERLAND — Saratoga seemed to have Monday’s volleyball match in the bag, but then Guilderland summoned its big hitter.

The Dutch were trailing, 17 to 11, in the fourth set, when sophomore Rebecca Straubel started killing the ball. Rallying around Straubel’s brilliant play, Guilderland won 14 of the last 15 points, forcing a fifth set.

“Whenever we’re in a bind or down, my go-to is her,” said Jessica VanDoren, who assisted on most of Straubel’s swings. “She’s a go-to hitter, all the time.”

Guilderland was coming off an awful third set, losing, 25 to 8. Straubel sparked some much-needed energy.

“We all played hard; we fought,” said Straubel, who finished with 10 kills, seven service points, and 13 digs. “We work really well as a team, and it showed in this match. Everyone played their best.”

The Dutch carried momentum into the fifth set, but the Blue Streaks were able to pull away for the win, 25 to 19. Saratoga (8-2) is one of the better teams in the Suburban Council.

“They’re a little disappointed,” Guilderland Head Coach Jessica Santabarbara said of her players. “But, looking at where they started the season and where they are now, they should have a sense of pride for what they achieved.”

Guilderland (3-7) isn’t having a winning season, but Santabarbara says the players are progressing and learning. The Dutch found success in 2011 and 2012, making deep playoff runs, but this year is different; the core group of players graduated.

On Monday, Santabarbara insisted that Guilderland communicate more on the court; talk among players is ideal for volleyball.

“I tell them that only they can change the next play, only they can have the next outcome,” said Santabarbara. “It’s up to them to try to make the change; nobody else is going to make it for them. They can get down and disappointed, or they can pick themselves up and say, ‘Listen, we have control over the next play; let’s see what happens.’ That’s how they do it.”

VanDoren told The Enterprise that Monday’s match was there for Guilderland to take. “We need to want it more,” she said. “You need that determination to get it.”

Straubel got the Dutch back into the match; her intensity was infectious. Volleyball is the ultimate team sport, but can one player take over the match?

“You need to pass, set, and hit, but you do have that one strong hitter that you’ll always go to,” said VanDoren, “and for us, that’s Becca.”

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