Due to limits imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Rio Rico High School volleyball team had only been practicing with a ball for a week when they took to the court for their season-opening match on Monday.

Their opponents from Sahuarita High School, on the other hand, were playing their fifth match of the season, and the Hawks’ relative rustiness showed in the first two sets. They had trouble returning serves and fell 25-9 and 25-8 to the visiting Mustangs.

But after a slow start in the third set, Rio Rico’s own serving improved, the rallies got longer and the competition improved.

The turnaround began with the Hawks trailing 6-0 in the third set. After Rio Rico picked up a point, sophomore Dior Velez reeled off a string of serving aces to cut Sahuarita’s lead to 6-5.

A few moments later, a pair of aces by RRHS senior Anaid Solano tied the score at 9. Sahuarita scored the next two points, but a spike by junior Andrea Carrillo brought Rio Rico back to within one at 11-10.

Then came a long rally that was twice kept alive by diving saves by Hawk junior MariaFernanda Juarez. However, Sahuarita ended up taking the point and going on to win 25-13.

Rio Rico’s next game is Thursday against Walden Grove.

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