Rifle stretched by Delta to three games in pigtail match

Phil Sandoval

DELTA – Tomorrow is a important word to an athlete.

It means hope, it means there’s another game to play, and another chance to move on.

And for Rifle’s volleyball team, tomorrow means the 2002 season is not over yet.

Pushed by Delta to a third game in a pigtail match for the final district playoff spot, the Bears were tottering on the brink of defeat until Krista Wagstrom came to the rescue.

The senior scored three of Rifle’s last five points as part of a 6-0 run that secured the 2-1 win over the upset-minded Panthers, who held a two-point lead early in the rubber game.

The match was a shock to Bear coach Victoria Di Guglielmo, who had seen her team defeat Delta twice in the regular-season in two games.

“It so hard to play and beat a team three times in a season,” the coach said. “Last Saturday, we beat them 15-3, 15-8 and I think we came out a little flat tonight.”

It show in both teams’ play.

Each struggled through a rash of net-splattering serves, unforced errors, and poor position on the court before they found their game.

DiGuglielmo said her team was nervous going in. Not because of the opponent, but, because the season was on the line.

The Bears lost their lead in game one three times before rallying back from a 15-15 tie for a 17-15 win on a Wagstrom spike and a Panther net violation.

Game two saw Delta rebound from a 10-6 deficit to a 15-11 win to tie the match at a game each.

The finale featured four lead changes before Rifle took charge.

Tied at 6-6, the Bears pulled out to a three-point lead when they forced Delta into a binge of unforced errors.

The errors forced Panther coach Lana Gafford to call time out. It didn’t help.

Wagstrom came out swinging.

And she was scoring.

She opened the gap to 12-6, forcing another Delta time out.

That didn’t work either.

Wagstrom picked up where she left off, and ended the match by not allowing Delta to go back on offense, giving Rifle a 15-6 win

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