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Bruins sophomore Addi Knight and junior Morgan Calcagno lead the way in a back-and-forth contest.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Barlow was all smiles after a 3-2 victory over Sandy Tuesday, Sept. 13.  With their backs against the wall, Barlow volleyball dug deep and found surge after surge to secure a reverse-sweep victory over their conference rivals.

The Bruins were losing to Sandy 2-0 during a home match Tuesday evening, Sept. 13, and not much was going their way. Some mental errors, poorly placed passes and near misses on serves had the Pioneers thinking about breaking out the brooms after a set two drubbing of 25-15.

But the Barlow players came together and found a spark.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit thanks in large part to a refocused defense.  "There isn't really anything I can say as a coach, it is the players that made the change," said Coach Jessie Mott. "They cleaned up the mistakes and earned every point."

"We had to pick up our defense," said sophomore Addi Knight, who was in her debut season on varsity. "This is a new lineup, but we started to click."

Barlow volleyball won the final three sets to best Sandy 3-2 (22-25, 15-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-9) in front of a raucous crowd that had the home stands shaking.

"This is my first time playing on varsity, and the crowd and energy was amazing," Knight said. "I learned you have to shut it all out — the crowd, the noise, your parents in the stands — and stay focused."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Barlow junior Morgan Calcagno was jumping for joy after a 3-2 victory over Sandy Tuesday, Sept. 13.  Set four was a gutsy showing from Barlow (2-1), which found itself down 12-5 against Sandy (3-4). The Bruins clawed back to tie it 22-22, before taking a lead on a Pioneer error. It was Junior Morgan Calcagno who notched the winning point on a blistering ace that left the Sandy defense sprawling.

"After last year it was good to see this team fight back," Mott said. "They dug deep. I'm so proud of them."

Both Calcagno and fellow junior Amiyah Eason came up with massive defensive plays during the comeback. They dug out difficult shots and set up their teammates for easy points. At the net for the Bruins, junior captain Olivia Brown battled against Pioneers star Sydney Brewster, who led the visitors in kills and blocks. Brown never came off the court and was a calming presence for the Bruins, especially early in the contest when things weren't going their way.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Barlow junior Amiyah Eason made plays and set up her teammates for the victory.  Mott praised her middle hitter Knight, one of several youngsters bringing new energy to the Barlow roster.

"Addi kept the ball in play when we needed it most — she just kept coming up with huge moments," Mott said. "She was smart with where she put the ball, and her confidence grew after every play."

In the final set, Sandy looked shell-shocked as Barlow kept its foot on the pedal. After an early 6-6 tie, the Bruins outscored the Pioneers 9-3 for the win, which was made all the sweeter thanks to some light-hearted jawing between the two teams and passionate student fans before the contest.

"It always feels good to beat our rivals," Knight said.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Morgan Calcagno was the centerpiece of the Barlow defense.

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