The final score of the FCA Victory Bowl volleyball game didn’t really tell much of the story.
Sure, there was a reason the Red team claimed a 3-0 win over the Blue team as the Red squad was able to take over the end of each game, but there was a whole lot more going on at the University High School gym on Saturday afternoon.
The match merely served as the culmination of a week of fellowship, Bible study, service projects and, oh yeah, two-a-day practices.
“In the end, we were all playing for one person,” Blue team outside hitter and Lorena graduate McKenzie Tuyo said. “Honestly, the outcome didn’t matter to us. We were just here to play for God and grow closer to God throughout this week. We were just really excited to play all together and just be closer with everyone.”
Tuyo described the week, in which athletes from across Central Texas stayed together in groups of four at host homes, as a cross between sports camp and church camp.
That meant that when it was time to play Red vs. Blue, the scoreboard felt somewhat irrelevant to the overall experience.
“We just kept getting closer,” Tuyo said. “I never imagined I’d be that close with these girls as quick as we were, but having the Word and praying and all that together, we just got so close. It felt like sisters.”
Tuyo and teammate Lilli Stewart of Academy each had 7 kills and an ace to lead Blue.
But it was the Red team combination of Aidan Chace and Kamryn Ash of Copperas Cove that controlled the match at the net.
Chace had 13 kills and 3 blocks to lead the Red attack.
Gatesville’s Maci Matthews, who posted 3 kills, a block and an ace, said it was a distinct advantage having the two Copperas Cove teammates working together up front.
“(Chace) did amazing,” Matthews said. “She and her setter (Ash) both connect really well, so that helped us out a whole lot.”
That gave the Red team the separation it needed in three very close games.
In the opening set, the Blue team scored the first three points on the strength of a Stewart kill and another by Kiki Blanton of Corsicana. Later in the game, Red answered with three straight points capped by a Chace block.
Those were the only two occasions in the first 38 points of the match that either team scored more than two points in a run. The Red team pulled away late when a block by Kelsey Surovik and a Chace ace helped it gain a 22-18 edge.
The Red team won Game 1, 25-19.
Similarly, Red and Blue went back and forth through the first 30 points until Red pulled away at the end for a 25-21 victory in Game 2.
The Blue team tied the third game at 20 on a kill by Makenzie Gibson of Groesbeck, but then it was time for Chace to finish things. Chace had two kills and a block in the final five points to help Red win 25-20 and clinch the match.
“It was really crazy,” Matthews said. “At the beginning of the games, we started off in a little lull. We just stayed calm and we got our momentum back. I thought we really meshed well for a team that had only been together for four days.”