LE GRAND -- Gia Priddell didn't have to come up with an inspiring pre-game speech.
Not with the Mariposa volleyball team on the other side of the net.
"Just the name Mariposa makes our blood pressure rise," said the Le Grand volleyball coach. "Our girls were ready for this game when they got to school at 8 this morning."
With its defense leading the way, Le Grand took sole possession of first place in the Southern League with a 25-19, 25-21, 28-26 win on Wednesday night at Le Grand High.
"We were ready for this game last week," said Le Grand setter Megan Tilton, who finished with 18 assists. "We were pumped up all day."
Tilton and her teammates made it a long night for the Mariposa hitters.
"We had a slow start, but Le Grand is a good team," Mariposa coach Debbie Leonard said. "We hit the ball hard. They just picked everything up."
Priddell had her girls focusing on defense all week to prepare for Mariposa's hitters.
"I have a really scrappy team," Priddell said. "We have to be scrappy. I have a lot of good athletes who play a lot of sports. They're not afraid to hit the ground."
The two teams came into the match tied atop the league standings at 8-1.
It was a big win for Le Grand, which lost out on a second straight SL title last year with a loss to Mariposa in the final match of the season.
Le Grand was able to put away Mariposa by out-playing their rivals down the stretch of each game.
Le Grand scored seven of the final eight points in the first game, five of the the last six points in the second game and then came back from a 24-22 deficit in the third game.
"We were able to close the door tonight," Pridell said.
Jessica Byerly led Le Grand with seven kills. Veronica Moreno finished with 23 digs.
The two teams will again close the regular season out against each other in Mariposa.
"We've got one more shot," Leonard said. "We'll see how that goes.
"I don't think anybody else in league is going to beat them. They've got a good offense and a great defense."