No lead was safe in Pacheco’s 3-1 volleyball loss to Livingston on Monday.
A few points went Livingston’s way at the end of games, giving the Wolves a 24-26, 25-23, 25-22, 25-17 that effectively ended the Panthers’ playoff hopes.
“That last one started to get away too much, but the rest of the games were all within two or three points. And the first one was within two or three points,” Pacheco coach Cory Henwood said. “That’s how it always is with Livingston. When we played them at home – same thing, every game was within three. We beat them one game quite heavily, like 25-15, but the rest of the games were all 25-23, 26-24, you know, so we’re just very evenly-matched teams, and that’s how it was. It was a fight to the end.”
Pacheco held the lead for most of the first set, with Livingston tying the score at 14 and 19, then again at 24 after Pacheco led by as much as 3 points. A Livingston serve into the net, followed by a Sabrina Diaz kill gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
But Livingston took the next two games, starting with a 25-23 win in the second after Pacheco came back from an 18-8 deficit, and 25-22 in the third after Livingston came back from trailing 20-15.
“There was a few too many where we got a little too far behind, and trying to catch up at the last one, and it’s just too late,” Henwood said. “Well, it’s never too late, but it gets hard. It gets more and more improbable.
“They’re fighters. They fight to win, so sometimes they let a few get by and then they turn into fight mode, and they’re unstoppable at that point. Sometimes it’s in time, and sometimes it’s too late.”
The Panthers once again showed that they are a product of momentum, either going on long winning runs or losing lots of points at once. Runs the will normally put a game away tend to disappear for the Panthers, but losing streaks that many teams won’t recover from seem like minor speed bumps to Pacheco.
“It’s easy for them to be frustrated with each other, and sometimes when they’re down, that’s what’s happened, is one girl gets frustrated with the other, and that seems to weigh for four or five points,” Henwood said. “And there has been times when they’re on a roll when someone’s excited, and patting each other on the back and giving each other confidence. It’s that swing, just who will step up and do that. They do it sometimes.”
A Wednesday win over Central Valley gave the Panthers some hope, but that coupled with Monday’s loss left Pacheco at 4-6 in league and probably on the outside of the playoff brackets looking in.
“They’re an undersized team, and they had to put in a lot of effort to get where they are now, and I appreciate it,” Henwood said. “Some people don’t want to give that effort and time, but they’re here all the time. They’re here for fundraisers, they just give everything to be part of the team. Can’t complain.”