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Arroyo Grande's Makenna Wolfe reached back over her head on a high set, smacked the ball and it landed untouched on the Righetti side.

Suddenly what had shaped up as a promising fourth set for the Warriors was over. So was the match. The first-place Eagles (22-4, 7-0) held off the Warriors (19-15, 4-4) for a 3-1 win in a Mountain League match at Righetti's Warrior Gym Tuesday night.

Set scores were 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 26-24.

"That was probably the worst we've played in league (matches)," said Arroyo Grande coach Courtney Zimmerman. "There were a lot of mistakes.

"Still, it says something about our players that we were behind by (five) points and came back and won." Righetti led the fourth set 20-15 at one point.

The Warriors beat back a match point when Kyra Allen hammered the ball off an Eagles block to tie the fourth set at 24-all.

Katey Cramer gave the visitors another match point on the ensuing Righetti sevice series with a big block. The ball landed untouched, several feet beyond the net on the Righetti side.

With the Eagles at match point number two, Wolfe finished the deal.

"We let the fourth set kind of slip away from us a little bit," said Righetti coach Charlie Koertge.

"They kept chipping away and chipping away. Finally they got a match point, we (tied the set up), but they got another match point and that was it."

The Eagles drew within 20-19 in set four with three points on Erin Stipanov's serve. Stipanov's next serve went long, and Allen's kill put the Warriors back ahead by three.

Arroyo Grande finally went ahead on a Taylor Maccuish ace that made it 23-22. The rest of the set see-sawed but Wolfe, the Eagles' leading hitter on the night, finally sealed the deal with a kill on match point number two.

The Eagles withstood 17 kills by Allen, 17 more by Righetti's Mackenzie Kestler, and a strong Righetti defense that libero Jahnine Ricafrente helped spark.

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"I like Jahnine Ricafrente, and she is a heck of a libero," said Zimmerman.

"That was the best defensive match I've seen Righetti play. We couldn't put anything down. That was why there were the errors (on our part). It was the frustration."

Ricafrente, Kestler and Abigail Salazar saved several hard Eagles shots that seemed all set to hit the floor for points. Shanyce Valadez bolstered Righetti's defense some more with her usual steady setting.

"We were in it the whole way except for that second set," said Koertge.

The Eagles led 15-13 in set two, and then the set spiraled away from the Warriors. Ella Hartford served seven unanswered points. Wolfe racked up three kills during the series and the Warriors watched two Hartford serves drop in for aces.

Though Wolfe led the Eagles' hitting Tuesday night, "We're balanced," said Zimmerman. "We don't have a leading hitter. We have hitters.

"Taylor Maccuish has been coming on strong lately. So has Ella Hartford, and our right side backup, Katey Cramer, who made that long block in the fourth set."

All of those three played a key role in the Eagles' win. Besides, Jordan Maccuish and Whitney Thompson gave the Eagles some timely blocks. A Thompson kill gave the Eagles the first set after the Warriors came from 12-5 down to take a brief 20-19 lead.

"That first set gave us a lot of confidence, and the third set gave us even more," said Koertge. "We were right in it."

Righetti will host Paso Robles at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night in another league match. 

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.