BARSTOW - The Barstow High School volleyball team got off early last night.

Unfortunately for the Aztecs it was after getting swept 3-0 by Sultana. The Sultans won 25-21, 25-19 and 25-21. Barstow's matches regularly don't end until 8 p.m. or later, but Tuesday's match lasted a little more than an hour and was finished by 6:30 p.m. For the first time this season the JV and freshman matches finished ahead of schedule allowing the varsity team to take the court on time.

Despite the loss Barstow has moved forward since their October 10 meeting with Sultana. The Sultans swept the previous match as well, but the Aztecs managed to close the gap in the game scores on Tuesday. The total point total on Tuesday was 75-61 compared with 75-47 on October 10.

Barstow coach Tammy Gregg said she liked what she saw on Tuesday.

"We did better than we did against them last time," Gregg said. "We played really hard and had high energy. If we hadn't made all the errors I think we could have won. We definitely improved big time."

One area Barstow struggled with during the match was offense. Katie Beardshear-Gregg led the team with 17 kills, but Nani Fiame was the only person close to her, earning four of her own.
Even with the errors, Barstow improved their communication during the game often calling if balls were out of bounds or as balls were set. Aztec junior Alyssa Maldonado said she believes their teamwork has improved because the team members are spending more time together.

"We have improved on everything," Maldonado said. "I think teamwork is the answer. We've been going out to eat as a team now. We go back and hang out and cheer and stuff together before the games."

With their final non-league match out of the way the Aztecs will now face Desert Sky League rival Silverado at 5:30 p.m. today in Victorville. The game was originally scheduled for October 25, but was rescheduled due to the smoke from Southern California wildfires. Barstow will finish the regular season against Victorville at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Don Bilsborough Gymnasium. Barstow needs wins in both of their upcoming games to ensure a playoff spot.

Although the fires forced the Aztecs into three straight days of games, it also gave the team a week off after an emotional 3-2 loss to Burroughs last Tuesday.

"I think the break was good," Gregg said. "The loss at Burroughs had the girls pretty down so I think the fires and the delay worked in our favor. Mentally more than anything, it's an improvement from the Burroughs game. We have to win two in a row now."