Still, Deyo thought her team fared well against the defending IVL champs.
"I was pleased with the girls," she said. "The subs came in and did a great job. We missed some serves and if you can't serve you can't win."
The Vikings were hitting on all cylinders in the match's first game, but the Wildcats (2-0 IVL) appeared equal to the challenge.
After falling behind 6-5, Holtville built a 13-9 advantage that was quickly erased by four points by Brawley's Kaylin Rubin, who finished the match with 13 points and five kills. Erin Cato returned the lead to the Vikings and after serve changed hands 11 times, Claudia Lopez served an ace to give Holtville the game one win.
"The girls were a little flat and Holtville's a good team," Finnell said of the first game.
The Wildcats turned things on in the second game. Led by Leighan Sudduth and Trisha Fleming, Brawley built a 7-5 lead before Sudduth took serve and took over. She rattled off seven of her match-high 19 points (two aces) in a row to give Brawley a 14-5 advantage. Regan Rothfleisch slammed home a kill to give the Vikings a brief respite before serve returned to the Wildcats and Fleming put away the game with a final point.
Brawley took a 6-3 lead to start the third game before the Vikings battled back to claim an 8-7 advantage. The lead would be Holtville's last of the game as Denae Smith and Fleming scored points before Sudduth ended the game with two points of her own.
The fourth game was another seesaw contest. Four points from Lopez helped Holtville build a 9-1 advantage before the Wildcats came roaring back. Rubin hit for four points to pull Brawley to 9-5 and Sudduth added two more to make the score 9-7 before the Vikings took control again.
Shelli Strahm, who finished the match with eight points and 18 assists, scored twice to put Holtville up 11-7 before a Morgan Smith kill returned serve to Brawley.
Fleming answered for the Wildcats, scoring three points and pulling the score to 11-10. The Vikings answered again with a 3-1 run and held serve for the game but could not capitalize. Rubin and Sudduth came up big for Brawley, scoring the Wildcats' final five points and helping them claim the win.
Sudduth finished the match with 10 kills and eight assists. Fleming had 11 kills for Brawley and Kristin Colace doled out 11 assists.
Rothfleisch led Holtville with 15 kills while Mykell Johnston scored nine points and had eight kills.
Both coaches were pleased with the way their teams played and are progressing.
"As a coach you're always looking for cohesion," said Finnell. "Tonight a lot of that was resolved. This team has come a long way, but they still have a long way to go."
Said Deyo: "I think we'll have a great match again in Brawley. We've just got to get on our good foot next time and do it."
The Wildcats return to action at 6 p.m. Thursday at home against Palo Verde. Holtville next plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Southwest.
Calexico 3, Palo Verde 1
CALEXICO — The Calexico High School volleyball team beat Palo Verde 15-11, 15-9, 8-15, 15-11 here Thursday.
Melissa Noriega and Arlene Morales led the Bulldogs (3-1) with 13 kills and 17 points each. Alexa Sandoval added 16 digs for Calexico.
The Bulldogs return to action at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Imperial.
Imperial 3, Southwest 1
The Imperial High School volleyball team topped Southwest 15-8, 11-15, 15-11, 15-12 in El Centro on Thursday.
Melanie Medina led the Tigers (4-1) with 12 points and eight kills. Jenny Bolan had eight kills and five blocks, Amy Holtz had 11 digs and Lindsay Lugo scored 14 points for Imperial.
Southwest (1-3) will be back in action at 6 p.m. Monday in Yuma against Cibola.