It started with a pep talk from an unlikely source. It ended with an historic win.
“(Assistant athletic director Paul Jones) came to us and had a talk and he said he feels like the whole school fears Western and he told us that he believes in us and that it is an expectation for us to beat Western and that he knows we have what it takes,” said Monticello senior Makysha Brock. “We used that. We used that as fuel.”
It was powerful fuel. Brock and the Mustangs’ volleyball team beat Western 3-1 Tuesday night for the program’s first victory over the Warriors since 2001, ending a 16-year drought against their rivals.
The Mustangs won the first game 25-22 and after dropping game two 25-17, the Mustangs bounced back, winning 25-21 and then a dominant 25-11, finishing on an 18-3 run to cap the huge victory over the Warriors.
Brock steadied the Mustangs throughout the match, striking a tremendous balance between bringing intensity to the net and staying even and calm throughout. She registered nine kills, six aces and 17 digs.
“I told everyone tonight’s the night and that we need to bring the grit,” Brock said. “But I also said play comfortable, you know what you’re doing. I knew we had it, I knew we could take it to them.”
Beyond the statistical contributions, Brock was also all over the floor and provided a psychological edge as well.
“She backed her teammates up I could see as she was moving around the court she was always backing her teammates up both vocally and physically,” said Monticello coach Meg Carpenter. “That instilled a lot of confidence.”
A year ago, taking a game off the Warriors would’ve been a big step for the Mustangs, they lost 3-0 to Western three times last year including the Conference 29 tournament. But with Brock hitting on all cylinders and by minimizing their unforced errors, the Mustangs were able to take control of the match.
“A lot of this game was overcoming this mental battle of knowing how great this program is, that was another obstacle that most games we don’t have,” Carpenter said. “Coming in and believing it and playing in one unit was something they were able to to achieve and overcome. I could not be more proud.”
Monticello senior Amaya Gibson had a big night defensively with 24 digs and also found a way to chip in five kills. Jewell Pugh had 26 assists and Allison Davis had six kills.
For Western, the Warriors managed to get on track in game two, but couldn’t maintain the required intensity to take control of the match, in part because Monticello was fighting tooth and nail. Sarah Rhea led the Warriors with 10 kills while Caity Driver had seven and Cassidy Wilson had five kills. Abby Boitnott notched 17 assists and Amber Parker had 32 digs. Wilson also put together 20 digs.
Monticello will look to build on their momentum on the road Thursday against Louisa while Western looks to bounce back the same night hosting Orange.