SPRING CREEK — Experience is key, and when in doubt — unleash the thoroughbred, senior Kylee Dimick.
On Friday, in a matchup of two volleyball teams that were tied for first place in the 3A North-East standings, fittingly, three or four sets were not enough.
After dropping the first frame, Spring Creek stormed back and dominated the second and third sets, only to see Elko rebound with an impressive showing in the fourth.
In the fifth set, the Lady Spartans — loaded with varsity experience — collectively overmatched a youthful Elko group that has just two seniors, one of which who was removed from the rotation midway through the fourth set and was not reinserted into the lineup until it was too late in the fifth.
The back-and-forth beating culminated in a 15-9 victory for the Lady Spartans, who are now in sole possession of first place with a 6-1 record, sending Elko to 5-2 after a two-game skid.
Spring Creek opened an early six-point lead in the first set, going up 10-4 as ultra-athletic senior Kylee Dimick got a friendly bounce off the tape.
However, the Lady Indians began a comeback with a putaway by sophomore Allison Padilla.
A kill by senior Hannah McIntosh brought Elko to within three at 10-7, the streak stopped by a quick push from Spring Creek senior Chelsea Ackerman.
The teams traded points with a rip by McIntosh and Spring Creek kill by junior Hailee Cottrill.
The Lady Spartans went up four with a block by sophomore Rylee Keim, but the favor was returned with a hammer by Elko junior Jeannie Anderson.
After a Spring Creek hit out of bounds, the Lady Indians locked the score with putaways by Padilla and junior Ellie Wickersham.
The lead changed hands once again with a Keim kill and a long serve.
Wickersham gave Elko the lead with a kill, but Dimick dropped a shot into the middle of the defense and Spring Creek went up on another short by junior Jenna Windous.
Cottrill made a block and opened a 17-15 lead, forcing an Elko timeout.
From the reset, junior EmmaJay Larsen dropped a tip shot on Spring Creek’s defense but Dimick followed with an emphatic drive.
McIntosh finished a double block for the Lady Indians, and junior Lucy Salyer and Anderson combined for another stuff.
Dimick crossed a putaway for the Lady Spartans, but a violation tied the score.
Anderson also crossed a kill for Elko, and a net violation lifted the Lady Indians to a 21-19 lead.
Freshman Pacey Harris actually notched a point on what should have been a free ball for Spring Creek’s defense, the Lady Spartans taking a timeout and trailing 22-19.
Salyer served an ace before an Elko violation made the score 23-20, but McIntosh crossed a kill and set up game-point.
Following a putaway in the middle of the floor by Keim, the Lady Indians took the opening frame 25-21 on a bad return.
The second game was absolutely dominated by the Lady Spartans, 25-9.
Spring Creek opened a 10-2 lead — gaining kills from Keim, an ace by Ackerman, a putaway by Windous and unforced Elko errors — capped by a string of three-consecutive aces by Keim.
Following a net serve, Dimick reared back and dropped a bomb for an 11-3 lead and pushed the margin to 12-3 with a ridiculous kill across her body after a bad set.
Junior Janeigha Stutesman unleashed an ace, Elko hit another net ball and Dimick tallied a kill in the middle of the floor for a 15-3 lead.
Larsen gave Elko its first point from an actual kill on a tip at 15-4, but the Lady Spartans took the next three on two putaways by Dimick and a push from Cottrill.
And Elko double-touch put the Lady Spartans on top 19-4.
Dimick found a hole in the Lady Indians’ defense and served an ace for a 22-5 avalanche.
McIntosh smacked a kill off Spring Creek’s block, and the Lady Indians cashed a point off its own block.
A tip and a drop by Keim was followed with a huge block by Stutesman, the set ending with a net ball by the Lady Indians — who were blitzed 25-9.
While the third set was more competitive, it was more of the same.
Spring Creek jumped to a 10-3 lead, opening with a block by Keim — followed by a Dimick streak.
With the score at 6-3, Dimick tore off five points in a seven-point span — driving four kills and adding a swat — Keim’s block opening a 12-4 cushion.
McIntosh drilled a kill but was followed with a tip by Cottrill, and Keim notched a point on a free ball at 14-6.
Elko made a quick run with a kill by Wickersham and a block by Larsen, but Dimick added consecutive points to make the score 16-9.
Wickersham lined a rope, but a cross by Dimick and an ace by Windous opened a 19-11 lead.
A drive by McIntosh brought the Lady Indians to within 21-14, but Keim responded with a putaway and Ackerman served an ace.
An ace from Anderson made the score 23-16 Spring Creek, but Stutesman made a timely kill along the sideline and Keim fired an ace to close the frame.
Spring Creek placed Elko on the brink with a 25-16 victory, leading the Lady Indians 2-1.
In the fourth, Elko showed its talent and potential.
The Lady Indians rode a 5-2 lead thanks to blocks by McIntosh and Anderson, a tip from Wickersham and another by Anderson.
A thump by Larsen opened a 7-3 lead, and Wickersham tallied consecutive points with a block and an ace for a 9-5 lead — senior libero Shaylynn Ginnings tallying a kill from the back row.
The Lady Spartans took a timeout and trailed 10-5.
From the reset, McIntosh and Keim traded points — Spring Creek winning multiple points after tremendous volleys.
A big block by Anderson gave Elko a 13-10 lead, a Spring Creek lift making the score 14-10.
Keim killed a ball, but Anderson made back-to-back points on a putaway and a rejection.
The Lady Spartans committed consecutive hitting errors and fell behind 18-11, taking a timeout.
Another net ball made the score 19-11, but Stutesman painted the left sideline and Spring Creek put down a free ball.
Dimick ended the longest volley of the match with another thump, and the team traded hitting errors.
Dimick made the score 20-16, but the Lady Indians put away a freebie and Wickersham opened a 22-16 advantage.
Spring Creek hit consecutive balls out of bounds and essentially sealed the fact that the game would reach the fifth set, another shot out of bounds giving Elko a 25-19 victory.
Anderson opened the race to 15 with a resounding drive, but Keim dotted the backline for the Lady Spartans.
Senior Sarah Amerigian pushed Spring Creek to the front with an ace, and Dimick made the tally 3-1 with one of her many kills.
After a serve was hit out of bounds, Elko tied the game with a wallop by Larsen and an ace by Anderson.
Dimick and Wickersham exchanged points, and the Lady Indians took a 6-5 lead on an ace by Harris.
However, the Lady Spartans closed the contest with a 10-3 run.
Dimick drilled a shot down, and a block by Keim made the score 8-7 in favor of Spring Creek.
Another block and an ace by Dimick pushed the lead to three, a push by Ackerman and a kill by Keim opening a 9-7 gave the Lady Spartans all the momentum.
Anderson cut the deficit to three with a tip, but Keim drove a shot down in the middle of the floor and another kill set up match-point.
Keim painted the line, giving the Lady Spartans their biggest win of the season and a 15-9 victory.