KINGSBURG - Two things that Kingsburg could take away from last week’s home opener against Mt. Whitney is to improve on its team chemistry and consistency.

“We have to work on playing together and we’re still kind of a new team with new people,” middle blocker Ally Cotton said. “This game taught us that we need to have that fire, not just in every game, but in practice too. We have to compete at the same level.”

The Vikings (0-1) fell 20-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-13 in a 3-1 loss to the Pioneers (2-0) on Tuesday Aug. 20. The loss comes after Kingsburg was swept 3-0 (18-25, 18-25, 17-25) to the Redwood Rangers in a matchup that was dubbed as the “foundation game” on Aug. 15.

In the matchup against Mt. Whitney, the Vikings had at least one lead in each set, but it would be the third one that showed encouraging signs. Kingsburg won the set 25-23 despite the Pioneers making an 8-1 run after the Vikings held an eight point (23-15) advantage.

Winning a tough set against an athletic Mt. Whitney squad displayed the team chemistry and consistency that the Vikings want to play with moving forward.

“It proved to us that we could do it and that we have the ability to do it if we have the fire to do it,” outside hitter Jennah Torres said. “That’s why it was important for us to win that third just to prove to ourselves that we could.”

Kingsburg middle blocker Olivia Doyle said the game was an “eye opener” for the team and that the third set was a positive sign.

“It’s an encouraging set,” Doyle said. “If we’re going to take anything from this game is to hold on to that set and use our mentality in that and really take it to our next games.”

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In the first and second sets, Kingsburg was constantly within four points in both sets, but eventually fell short in both.

In the first set, the Vikings were down 24-17 before coming within four points at 24-20. In the second, Kingsburg climbed back from a 22-13 deficit by cutting the Pioneers lead to 22-18, but Mt. Whitney ended the set scoring three consecutive points.

Both teams traded points in the fourth set until the Pioneers took a 16-9 advantage after a 7-7 tie. Kingsburg took a timeout down seven points, but Mt. Whitney did not slow down, going on a 8-4 run to close out the game.

“We had to fight with everything we had and we had to really want it to win that game,” Cotton said.

The Vikings last played in non-league action against Sierra Pacific on the road on Tuesday (after press time). Last week, the Golden Bears competed at a tournament in Caruthers on Aug. 21-24. Sierra Pacific (4-0) won its season opener 3-1 over Hanford on Aug. 20.

Up next

Kingsburg will aim to bounce back when the Vikings host Lemoore (1-0) on Thursday. The Tigers recently played Tulare Western on Monday. After hosting Lemoore, Kingsburg will compete at a tournament in Clovis on Friday and Saturday. Then, Vikings will host Reedley High on Sept. 3.

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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